Vettel fastest again on day 2 of pre-season F1 testing
JEREZ, Spain (AP) Sebastian Vettel's career with Ferrari is off to an encouraging start, with the German driver quickest in Formula One pre-season testing for the second day running.
The four-time champion joined Ferrari after a miserable season with Red Bull last year. The German finished fifth overall, failed to win a race and secured only four podium finishes compared to 13 Grand Prix wins the previous season.
Vettel clocked a best lap of 1 minute, 20.984 seconds on Monday - almost two seconds better than he managed on Sunday.
''The reference is still Mercedes ... Mercedes did a great job last season that left all others looking a bit pale,'' Vettel said. ''I haven't driven the 2014 Ferrari so I have no reference. I have made sure over the winter that I've taken in all the different buttons and switches.''
Vettel thinks it may take him some time to make his mark at Ferrari.
''There are so many new things to come to terms with, and that includes me. You take the current car and try to squeeze the maximum out of it,'' he said. ''So the priority for this year: get the maximum out of the season and develop as a team.''
Sauber driver Felipe Nasr of Brazil was second best in 1:21.867 and Williams driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland third quickest in 1:22.319.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest in Mercedes and cut short his session about an hour before the end.
''I got a feel for the car quite quickly. The balance obviously wasn't perfect as we're not working on setup yet, so it could be a lot better,'' he said. ''But the priority right now is to put in the laps, not set fast times, and there were lots of positives today.''
With teammate Nico Rosberg watching from the pit lane, Hamilton clocked up 91 laps - considerably less than the mammoth 157 Rosberg did on Sunday - but more than Vettel's 89.
Hamilton was called back to the garage with an hour remaining due to a water system issue on the Mercedes - just as the rain started to lash down on the Jerez circuit in southern Spain.
Max Verstappen, the youngest driver in F1 history at 17 years old, was fifth quickest for Toro Rosso.
Meanwhile, Red Bull's day was limited to just 18 laps after Russian driver Daniil Kvyat, who was signed to replace Vettel, damaged the RB11's front wing after going off track.
''Sometimes mistakes happen and there's nothing you can do about them,'' Kvyat said. ''We still maximized our running with what we had and hopefully we can recover from that.''
The team said it hopes to have a replacement wing delivered in time for Tuesday's testing.
It was another bad day for McLaren, which has switched to Honda engines this season, with Jenson Button doing only six laps - the same tally as Fernando Alonso managed on Sunday.
Button's best lap was more than 30 seconds slower than Vettel's.