Vettel's quickest lap was nearly three-tenths of a second
slower than Mercedes pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton but the
four-times world champion felt he had left a better time out on
"I was not entirely happy with my lap," the German told
"I was pretty happy with the end, maybe not so much with the
opening of the lap where we lost a bit too much.
"But I think Lewis did a very good lap so I don't think -- I
would have loved to -- but I don't think pole was up for grabs.
"Tomorrow I think we can do something in the race. As I said the
car feels good, we've improved it so the pace feels much better
than yesterday when we had some practice."
Mercedes have swept the driver and constructors' championships
for the last three years running, while Ferrari failed to win a
race last season.
But a raft of technical changes to the cars, including fatter
tires and improved aerodynamics, are seen leveling the playing
field and Ferrari showed impressive reliability and pace during
Vettel, who crossed to the glamor team in 2015 after four F1
titles with Red Bull, has been at pains to downplay Ferrari's
prospects and hopes of a heavyweight championship battle with
three-times winner Hamilton.
But with Hamilton and retired champion Nico Rosberg hogging the
front row throughout 2016, there would have been some
satisfaction for Vettel to wedge his Ferrari between the
Mercedes cars at Albert Park.
Rosberg's replacement Valtteri Bottas will start third in
Sunday's race, sandwiched between Vettel and his Ferrari team
mate Kimi Raikkonen.
"I think we have a good car," said Vettel. "I think we are
working well as a team, things are improving.
"We had a mixed day yesterday but the confidence in the car was
there from testing and I think we've showed it again today.
"It's been a big winter for us, a lot of change we've gone
through as a team the last 12 months. And to the better, I think
the team's getting stronger, pushing very hard. I think people
are fired up and we are motivated for tomorrow."
(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)
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