Pirelli: Vettel didn't benefit from testing
14 June 2017 – Pirelli has played down suggestions that Sebastian Vettel's strong form so far this season is connected to him completing more development testing through 2016.
Ferrari driver Vettel carried out over 2,000km of running, and team-mate Kimi Räikkönen passed the 1,000km mark, while Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton only covered 50km.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that this may have been a mistake, with his drivers experiencing on/off tyre struggles over the early stages of the 2017 campaign.
However, Pirelli chief Paul Hembery doubts that Vettel's extra running "helped practically", reiterating that drivers racked up laps without knowing what tyres they were testing.
"Yes, Sebastian did a lot of testing," Hembery told the official F1 website.
"It was very intense and he gave us a lot of feedback. We thank him for that. That is what we wanted: the top drivers giving us good feedback.
"But because he didn't really know what he was testing – he was blind-testing – it might have helped him psychologically, but I doubt it helped practically."
Hembery is also confident that Mercedes will soon get over its problems.
"Actually Mercedes' issue is linked a bit to certain circuits," he added.
"In Barcelona they were fine, and in Silverstone and Spa they will be as well.
"It's the lower-grip circuits where they've had a few more problems, but I am sure they will resolve any issues as we go through the season."
Vettel holds a 12-point title lead over Hamilton, having won in Australia, Bahrain and Monaco, and finished second in China, Russia and Spain.
KMs tested per driver in 2016:
Pascal Wehrlein (Mercedes): 3,248
Pierre Gasly (Red Bull): 2,494
Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari): 2,228
Sébastien Buemi (Red Bull): 1,190
Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari): 1,054
Max Verstappen (Red Bull): 517
Esteban Gutiérrez (Ferrari): 480
Antonio Fuoco (Ferrari): 478
Nico Rosberg (Mercedes): 209
Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull): 200
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): 50