The Canadian GP turned out to be rather a disappointing race, but it could have been very different.
Ferrari have used the first of their in season development tokens and the initial indications are good.
In FP2, Sebastian Vettel was just 0.316 seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton who topped the time charts. Of course, Ferrari could have been running light on fuel, but there is other evidence to suggest that they have made a step closer to Mercedes with their engine development.
Prior to Montreal, Sebastian Vettel has been the lead Ferrari in each of the qualifying events this year with an average deficit to the quickest Mercedes of 0.855 seconds.
By comparison, his team mate Kimi Raikkonen has been poor in qualifying and his average deficit to Vettel is 0.545 seconds.
On Saturday at the Ile de Notre Dame, Kimi Raikkonen managed to bring his car home in Q3 just 0.621 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton, about 0.2 seconds closer than Vettel has averaged this year.
Given the form to date in 2015, there can be little doubt had Vettel been battling in the final qualifying session he would have been challenging Rosberg for P2 and even Lewis Hamilton for pole position.
Vettel’s pace in the race was good too, he closed down 7 seconds on the Mercedes’ cars during his final stint whilst passing for position. Though to mitigate this Rosberg and Hamilton were at times in brake and fuel saving mode.
When asked whether given a clean weekend in Montreal, he could have challenged the Mercedes pair, Vettel replied: “In the end we didn’t, so we will never find out,” he said.
“I think from our side everything worked as expected. Surely you cannot expect miracles. Look at the gap in pre-season testing – it was huge. Since then I think we were able to close, some races more, some races less. It’s not that easy. They are not idiots and they are also trying to make as much progress as possible. So if you close the gap it means you have to make more progress, which is not so easy.
“So far I think we are on the right track and things are going the right way.”
Given that Ferrari had poor traction in Barcelona and the circuit in Montreal requires excellent traction to be competitive, Ferrari team boss Arrivabene was bullish.
“If you look at the pace of Seb during the race it’s quite clear that in terms of timings we were there, adding, “the engine upgrade was giving us the positive answer we were asking for”.
Ferrari are now believed to have the same number of engine development tokens (7) as Mercedes for the remainder of this year.