Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was delighted to be back in Melbourne ahead of the season-opening Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2020.
The German has won three times at the iconic Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit, including triumphs in both the 2017 and 2018 events for Ferrari.
Another victory would see him equal the record for most Formula 1® wins in Melbourne, held by Vettel’s childhood idol, Michael Schumacher.
Schumacher won the race four times for Ferrari between 2000 and 2005.
Asked about his personal success in Melbourne at a press conference on Thursday, Vettel said: “I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like the track.
“I think it’s a fun track. I think generally it feels like the right place to kick it [season] off, great atmosphere … I think everybody just loves the track and that’s myself included.”
“I think it has a nice flow to it, nice rhythm, it’s good that they didn’t re-surface much of the track … I think it’s quite fast considering it’s a street circuit … I like it.”
Ferrari set the fastest time in pre-season testing for four years in a row but their run was broken in February as Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas set the standard.
The Maranello-based team were a long way behind their Formula 1® rivals, too, heaping the pressure on Ferrari.
But the team said they adopted a different strategy to testing in 2020 and when told that Ferrari’s performances looked a “little bit inconclusive”, Vettel responded: “I think testing is always inconclusive … really, racing is what it’s about.
“It’s nice to come here and finally know where you are [in the pecking order] … I think our car is doing what we expected.
“It is a step forward, it feels better, but ultimately it matters where you are next to all the others.”
Vettel will take to the Albert Park track for the first time in 2020 on Friday as Formula 1® drivers complete two practice sessions.
Qualifying then follows on Saturday, ahead of Sunday’s much-anticipated season opener.
The Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2020 runs in Melbourne until Sunday. Book online and save up to $10* on AusGP Park Pass tickets before prices increase at the gate.