Ferrari confident it can cut Mercedes gap at Sepang

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Ferrari technical director James Allison is confident the team can cut the gap to Mercedes at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton led home team-mate Nico Rosberg in a Mercedes one-two at the Australian Grand Prix, with Sebastian Vettel over 30 seconds back as he finished third for Ferrari. Looking ahead to the second race of the season, Allison believes Ferrari can mark itself out as the clear second-best team on the grid and wants to be able to push Mercedes more at Sepang.

“Let’s assume for a minute that Mercedes don’t make a mistake; so I think with the gaps that we saw in Melbourne it’s reasonable to expect that Mercedes will be at the front,” Allison said. “However we think that we can be a fair bit closer to them than we were in Melbourne if we get everything right.

“We didn’t get everything right in Melbourne but in Malaysia we hope to. So I would hope that we can put our car in a strong third and fourth on the grid.”

And Allison expects to see a similar pecking order in Malaysia as at the opening race of the season.

“Normally, we assess the tracks based on two parameters; the level of aerodynamic downforce required and the power needed from the power unit. And if one looks at just these two parameters, Sepang is very similar to Melbourne. Therefore, the car’s competitiveness ought to be similar.

“However, in Malaysia, its much hotter and more humid and this is a factor that stresses both the car and the tyres. Furthermore, usually a sudden storm can require an immediate change of strategy: everyone is constantly monitoring the weather, but reaction time is always vitally important.”

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