Sebastian Vettel challenged Lewis Hamilton all the way at the Canadian Grand Prix but finished five seconds behind the Montreal winner despite taking the lead at the first corner after a tremendous start.
Having admitted that Ferrari’s two-stop strategy was “a wrong decision”, Arrivabene was nonetheless pleased to see the SF16-H, which was fitted with a new spec of turbocharger in Canada, able to challenge the all-conquering Mercedes W07.
Asked about how far the Scuderia was from its first win of the season, the team principal replied: “At the moment five seconds and one tenth in qualifying. I hope that the gap is going to be less and less.”
“I think also the team reacted very, very well and we start to understand clearly how to find the right balance of the car and to work with and I think the gap that we had [in qualifying and the race] from Mercedes, it is small, but it is not enough. We need to work more to be able to win.
“We need to, because Mercedes is in front of us and we need to continue as we have done until now to prepare the car properly for the race weekend and to look forward.”
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has suggested that Ferrari is now on par with the German manufacturer in terms of engine power, a particular matter of fact Arrivabene is not ready to acknowledge yet.
“It is not a question to be on the same level as Mercedes,” he added. You have to win and when you are winning then you can say, ‘I am at the same level’, because the other then have to match you.”