Sebastian Vettel is delighted with the progress Red Bull has made in the first two races of the season but says the team needs to keep limiting the damage to Mercedes.
Lewis Hamilton took a dominant victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix, winning by over 17 seconds from team-mate Nico Rosberg. Vettel ended the race a distant third but was pleased to be on the podium, pointing out after the race that Red Bull didn't even expect to be able to finish some of the opening grands prix.
“We need to make big steps because they are quite far ahead but I'm quite happy with the steps we're currently making,” Vettel said. “It's the first race distance I've done this year, since Brazil, it's the first race distance I've done so that's a big step. Obviously, at some stage during testing, we didn't expect to finish the first couple of races so well done to all the guys in the team on the reliability front.
“It's not a big secret, we know there's still a lot to do. In terms of driveability we're not yet there where we want to be. In terms of power, it's not a big secret without giving a hammering but the guys at Viry are flat out to work on that front. Renault is pushing very very hard but at this stage we have to summarise and say that Mercedes did a better job.
“They're quicker than us so we know that there's a lot of things we have to do better but it's still a bloody good result today, finishing on the podium, right behind them. That's what we need to do, as long as we can, up to the point where we're even and we can challenge them and give them a harder time.”
And Vettel says he doesn't feel the top three in Malaysia are the only title contenders despite the large gaps in performance.
“Well, I think Fernando [Alonso] is missing, Daniel [Ricciardo], Kimi [Raikkonen] and probably one other guy that we don't know yet. Still early days, but that's what I would say.”