Vettel happy despite FP2 spin
Sebastian Vettel brushed off a late trip to the gravel as he topped the timesheets in FP2 at the Italian Grand Prix on Friday.
Vettel was limited to just four laps in the opening session at Monza but was much more competitive later in the day, his Ferrari having had a change of gearbox between the two stints on track.
As the rain that had hampered FP1 passed it was the German who set the fastest time as his Ferrari clocked a 1:21.105 during his 27 recorded laps.
However, his day was nearly ended prematurely when he took a trip through the gravel trap at the Parabolica, clipping the barrier before finding his way back to the pits.
"I thought I managed it without touching [the wall] but I had a slight touch so we broke a little bit the rear wing endplate which we had to change," Vettel said.
"I wanted to run but we had to check the car first, it was good that we got out this afternoon. I lost a bit of time with my spin but I was trying a bit too hard.
"The car was fine so at least I got out of the sandpit which was difficult as a child but nowadays I don't want to spend much time there. I am happy that I can carry on."
Ferrari are hot favourites to repeat their dominance at the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend but the team remain cautious after being close to rivals Mercedes at this stage in 2017 before the Silver Arrows pulled away.
Mattia Binotto – Ferrari's chief technical officer – is confident his side are in a better position this year, though, and believes the gap has closed considerably.
"Certainly we are in a better position compared to ourselves, to start with, and if I consider Spa last year, for example, we were not as competitive as we have been this year," he told a media conference.
"I think that since the very start of this season, since the launch of the car, we mentioned and we said that we focused our development in terms of efficiency and to make sure that our car could compete on medium-fast circuit types and I think that somehow we have achieved it.
"On circuits where efficiency is important, like Silverstone, like Spa, we got good results and I think that is a good base for the rest of the season.
"So again, compared to last year, I think we can count on a car, which is certainly better in efficiency today. There are still eight races to go, so it’s still long and it will be a long and difficult battle."