Vettel: Challenge to catch Mercedes is huge

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Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are unsure whether they will be able to mount a serious challenge to Mercedes at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix in spite of the team’s engine update for the race.

The Italian marque has spent some of its available engine tokens to update its engine ahead of the race in Montreal, suggesting that it could be able to cut into Mercedes’ advantage at the front of the field.

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Vettel said that although Ferrari was hoping to make some inroads, the gap to Mercedes remained sizeable.

“In general we are here to fight so it’s clear we always want the maximum,” Vettel said. “You also have to see that Mercedes is still the strongest team and the challenge to catch them is huge.

“We are trying to make everything possible and close the gap and hopefully we can be a little bit closer this weekend.”

Kimi Raikkonen once again acknowledged his poor qualifying form as an area for improvement in Montreal, and said that Ferrari is well aware of the challenge that lies ahead in catching Mercedes.

“We know what we are lacking and we are trying to improve those areas to get what we want,” Raikkonen said. “Obviously I know where we have to improve, nobody had to tell me.

“But obviously we put ourselves in a difficult position on Saturdays for Sundays so if we improve that we have good speed in race.

“If you are starting where you shouldn’t it makes it difficult. The aim is to improve but it’s not always simple to do.”

The Canadian Grand Prix does have a tendency for drama and surprises, as exemplified by Daniel Ricciardo’s victory in the 2014 race. Although Ferrari may remain the second-quickest team, should Mercedes come unstuck in Montreal for the second year in a row, either Vettel or Raikkonen could be waiting in the wings to pick up an unlikely win.