Ferrari may have taken the leap ahead it was seeking after introducing a revised turbo design for the Canadian grand prix.
Sebastian Vettel split the Mercedes of triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, who dominated both of Friday’s practice sessions, and championship leader Nico Rosberg with a time set on the fastest ultrasoft tyres, with the German remarking: “I hope not only to split them on Sunday, but to be in front of them.”
Ferrari senior engineer Jock Clear confirmed that the new turbo, updated so that the recovered energy can be deployed more often, did “what it said on the tin”.
However, both Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen were still grumbling about the handling of their red racers, indicating that Red Bull is still in the battle.
“I’m sure we can be in front of them again with the right lap (in qualifying),” said Daniel Ricciardo.
But his teammate Max Verstappen acknowledged: “I think Ferrari is stronger than they were in Monaco.”
Ferrari’s Vettel is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Are we stronger (than them)? I don’t know, but the good news is that the new parts seem to work.”
Ferrari have not won in Montreal, at a circuit named after their late Canadian great, since Michael Schumacher in 2004. Vettel won there with Red Bull in 2013.