Sebastian Vettel has branded Mercedes' claims that it was behind Ferrari on pace as "bullshit". The Ferrari driver finished behind both Mercedes cars in FP1 and FP2 despite the Silver Arrows claiming they had a pace disadvantage.
With Lewis Hamilton topping both free practice sessions on Friday after assurances that the claims of being behind were not 'BS', Vettel did not mince his words in return.
“What was all their bullshit about ‘oh we’re in such bad shape’ and so on?” Vettel told media after practice.
"I didn’t understand that to be honest. It was a bit of a surprise. They looked really quick.
“I don’t know if it was just us struggling a bit today or also others. But as a matter of fact I think they were in a league of their own. Maybe everyone else was struggling and then we can turn it around.
“But yeah they look certainly very strong and much stronger than they claimed before the weekend.”
Vettel also admitted he had been struggling with the handling of his SF90 during practice which left him down the order in both sessions. Although it could be a long night in Maranello as the team looks to pinpoint and fix the issues hurting both drivers, Vettel said he was confident of showing a rapid improvement on Saturday.
“I can feel I have the car under me that I had in testing but it doesn’t do the same things. It’s not doing exactly what I like here and there and that’s why I’m lacking confidence.
“At this point I think we are all flat-out trying to understand what happened in the session, the things that we tried, how we changed it and so on.
"I don’t think it was an awful session, I think here and there there were bits that were really good and we can build on so now it’s about stringing it together and have a better day tomorrow.”