Sebastian Vettel says Red Bull needs more time on track to fully understand and get the most from its new RB8, despite taking a podium finish from the opening round of the new season in Australia.

The defending champion finished second at Albert Park having benefitted from a safety car to split McLaren pair Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton on the podium having started the race down in sixth place after a tough qualifying session.

Speaking ahead of the second round of the year in Malaysia this weekend, Vettel insisted there was still more to come from the car as the season goes on and said the Milton Keynes-based team simply needed more time on track to fully understand and get the most from the car.

"I think we need track time to really understand what's going on," he told Reuters. "I don't think we have a problem with the car as in we don't understand what's going on, or the front is too weak or the rear end is a disaster, its not like that. I think its fine tuning here and there.

"Hopefully we have a lot of track time tomorrow to allow ourselves to see exactly where we are and then trim the car in the right direction for Saturday and Sunday."

The German added that he expected McLaren to be the team to beat in Malaysia but said he felt it would be a close battle between the front-runners at Sepang this weekend.

"I think McLaren has done a very good step and they have a very competitive car," he said. "From what we know they are quick everywhere so it's not as if they have a weakness. They will be the ones to beat as I said. They will be quick but we'll try our best and there's also others around."

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