Malaysian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari should focus on establishing itself as best of the rest behind Mercedes in Formula 1.
The four-time world champion took Ferrari’s first win in more than a year last time out at Sepang, beating Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in a straight fight. But Vettel believes it is too early to expect Ferrari to repeat that performance on a regular basis.
“We only had two races, I think you need a couple more to understand where you are,” Vettel told the media ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix. We want to make sure we establish ourselves as the team right behind Mercedes. That means we stay ahead of strong teams like Williams and Red Bull not just for one or two races but for the whole season. Once we have confirmed that, the target is to ensure the gap gets closer and closer to Mercedes.”
Vettel accepted that the Malaysian GP created a set of circumstances that allowed him to challenge Mercedes, and he said that winning on his second start for Ferrari would not affect how the team approaches the rest of the season.
“I don’t think Mercedes backed off,” he said. “It was nice to see we were so competitive, but a couple of circumstances came together. We are realistic about where we are and what we want to achieve and the targets haven’t changed.
“We managed to do a good job in Malaysia, but for here and the next races we have to be realistic about what we can achieve.”