Sebastian Vettel says there is "a lot of progress ahead" for Red Bull but doesn't expect to challenge Mercedes in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were the fastest two drivers in both Friday practice sessions in Bahrain, with Hamilton over a second clear of the rest of the field in FP2. While Vettel said the Mercedes pace was expected he also believes Friday showed Red Bull has plenty more room for improvement.

"They're very quick," Vettel said. "It's not a surprise, they've been very quick in testing here. I think also other teams look very strong like McLaren, Williams; that's at first glance. For us today was mostly about ourselves - like the last couple of weeks to be honest - trying to learn and understand more about the car. There's still a lot of progress ahead."

Related Articles

While Vettel doesn't expect to be able to bridge the gap to Mercedes this weekend, he does hope to in the near future and says he is looking forward to a battle with a number of other teams in Bahrain.

"We've seen and learned from testing here that Mercedes are very strong around this track and they've proven again today that they're quite quick. It will be a long way for us to catch up but long term it is important that we make bigger steps than them.

"Behind the Mercedes teams I think it looks quite close. We had a strong day today, no issues with both of our cars, nothing went wrong so there were a lot of things that we learned. Now it's up to us to already see some improvements tomorrow hopefully."