Vettel unsure where Ferrari stands compared to Mercedes

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Sebastian Vettel remains uncertain about Ferrari’s pace in comparison to front-runners Mercedes in Malaysia despite the team appearing to be far closer in practice than it was two weeks ago at the Australian Grand Prix.

Ferrari finished within four-tenths of a second of Mercedes at the top of the timesheets in both practice sessions at the Sepang International Circuit on Friday, suggesting that the team could pose a stiffer challenge to the German team this weekend.

However, Vettel remains unsure about his own pace given the tricky conditions and the problems faced by Mercedes in practice.

“I think it’s difficult to compare where we are compared to Mercedes because they didn’t have a clean day,” Vettel said. “The most important thing now is to look after ourselves.

“I think everyone is struggling. Everyone is sliding a lot. It’s hot tomorrow and Sunday should be a bit cooler because we’re running a bit later. But for now we can be satisfied.”

Vettel finished the second practice session down in seventh place after failing to post a quick time on the medium compound tire. After recording the quickest first sector time of any driver, his flying lap was cut short due to a red flag following Roberto Merhi’s spin, preventing him from a higher finish.

“It’s nice to be quickest but we couldn’t finish the lap when the red flag came out,” Vettel said. “Then we tried again and I was trying a bit hard so we don’t know exactly where we could have been with the medium tire, but all in all it was okay.”

Ferrari will be hoping to make some inroads at the front this weekend, but its main focus will lie with Williams in the battle to be the ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes after a close fight in Australia two weeks ago.