Sebastian Vettel literally had a loose screw in Friday’s second free practice session, which led the Ferrari driver to express a bit of brash innuendo over his team’s radio.

At one point during the afternoon session, Vettel reported that “there’s something loose between my legs. Apart from the obvious”.

“Something’s bouncing around between my feet. I’d be proud if it’s what you think it is, but it’s not…”

His Scuderia race engineer acknowledged the comment before he likely broke down in laughter on the other end.

“I think the biggest worry we had today was a little screw that came loose and was somewhere between my feet,” he said. “We found it in the end!

“I said it and once I said it I thought ‘no, don’t get it wrong!’ so I had to say it again. It was funny.

“But we found it in the end, it was a little screw.”

    Brazilian GP: Bottas and Mercedes in command of FP2

Capturing his composure, Vettel later explained how a session which he concluded in P3, less than a tenth from leader Valtteri Bottas, had unfolded.

“I think it was OK,” he said. “I did decent laps, I think we learned about the tyres. We still have to improve the car because it doesn’t feel good yet, still some work to do.

“If we get the balance in the window tomorrow then it [the battle] can be tight.”

While tyre degradation remains a worry for the front-runners in Brazil, the four-time world champion feels that Ferrari’s performance is improving, a step-up that will prove necessary for the Italian squad to retain an chance of beating Mercedes in the yet to be decided Constructors’ battle.

“The last races to us were very useful because we understood a lot about our car, a lot of the things that went wrong,” he said.

“We’re still trying to get a better picture and understand a bit more what’s going on.”

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