Sebastian Vettel admits Ferrari expected to outqualify Red Bull at the Malaysian Grand Prix, but remains confident it has the race pace to turn the tables on his former team during Sunday’s 56-lap contest at Sepang International Circuit.
“Obviously we expected [to be] one row higher up, P3, right behind Mercedes,” Vettel said.
"They were just a bit quicker, we expected it to be tight but we felt we had the upper hand. In the end there wasn't much missing but just enough, just over a tenth.
"As a driver you feel it was always somewhere there, so maybe I need to go and have a look later on, and see if I can pick it up.”
Having only secured one podium finish in the last seven races, Vettel believes Ferrari’s long-run speed can help the Scuderia recover near the sharp end of the field.
The four-time world champion, who won in Malaysia last year, also highlights the importance of strategy in securing a strong result in Sepang.
“There's a bit of room [to play], the fact that everyone has to use the hard [compound] at some point makes it interesting,” Vettel added.
“I think we should have good speed in the race, strategy will be important. Generally we should be quicker, but we weren't today – I hope we can be on Sunday.”