Sebastian Vettel believes that Ferrari can pose a serious challenge to Mercedes in tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix after qualifying in second place for the race on Saturday.
The four-time world champion was denied his first pole position for Ferrari by Lewis Hamilton in the dying seconds of Q3, with the Briton going four-tenths of a second faster with his final lap.
Nevertheless, Vettel was delighted to split the Mercedes drivers after outqualifying Nico Rosberg, who will start third on the grid ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the sister Ferrari.
“We’re very happy with second today,” Vettel said. “I think it was a tough session. At the beginning I didn’t really find the rhythm that I seemed to have in practice, but towards the end more and more it was getting better.
“I was feeling happier in the car, and I felt more comfortable to push. For now, very happy with the front row.
“Hopefully tomorrow I can have a good start and a good race from there. I think in the race we are maybe a bit closer, so we’ll see what happens.”
Ferrari’s race pace during practice on Friday was good enough to worry Mercedes, and it will be intriguing to see how the fight between the two leading teams in F1 plays out on Sunday in Bahrain.
The higher temperatures for this weekend should suit the Ferrari SF15-T car as they did in Malaysia where Vettel claimed the team’s first win in almost two years.
However, both Hamilton and Rosberg will be doing all they can to avoid a second defeat in three races, setting the stage for a thrilling battle tomorrow.
You can watch the Bahrain Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 10:30am ET on Sunday.