Mercedes very strong, but Ferrari can be closer - Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel in action in Singapore

Sebastian Vettel has outlined that Mercedes has a “very strong” package at the Singapore Grand Prix, but has backed Ferrari to unlock further pace.

Ferrari had been expected to lack performance compared to its display at recent grands prix, with the Marina Bay layout accentuating the SF90’s weaknesses.

Vettel, a four-time winner of the event, was third-fastest, albeit 0.818s behind pacesetter Lewis Hamilton, while Charles Leclerc was a low-key sixth.

“I think Mercedes was very strong today, but I think you could see that not just on one lap and on the timings,” said Vettel.

“I think overall, they were a bit faster. On our side, I think we can do better, I think we can improve the car, so let’s see.

“I think we should be closer than where we were today, hopefully we can be close, very close, maybe have a fair fight in qualy tomorrow.”

Leclerc’s programme in the opening session was truncated by a gearbox problem and he conceded that he was simply off the pace throughout the day.

“FP1 obviously we had an issue, so I missed a few laps which are always important on a street track,” he said.

“In FP2 I just didn’t feel confidence with the car, but also with the track, so I need to work for tomorrow, try to improve the driving, no big deal, it happened quite many times that on the Friday I was not where I wanted to be, so I need to work and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

“It definitely doesn’t help to lack laps in FP1, but it’s not an excuse. I believe it’s also coming from myself, simple as that.”