Sebastian Vettel insists that he has no intention of interfering with the inter-necine F1 title battle between Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, even if he admits it would be nice to beat the front-running duo in Abu Dhabi.

The German ended day one of the 2014 season finale some eight-tenths off the pace set by Hamilton on day at Yas Marina and conceded that, if everything went according to recent form, he was unlikely to be any higher than third in Sunday's race. On his last appearance with Red Bull - having confirmed his defection to Ferrari on Thursday - Vettel acknowledged that it would be nice to match the pace of the Silver Arrows but, at the same time, conceded that he didn't want to get caught up in the title battle.

"I don't really want to interfere with Mercedes - it would be nice to race them and beat them, but I think, realistically, that they're a bit too far away," he explained, "I think everyone can interfere - that's why we go racing I guess - but, if everything goes normal, if we look at the last few races, then Mercedes is 1-2 if they don't have any problems. I just want to get everything out of myself, out of the car, and make sure I finish fourth in the championship."

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Despite his pessimism, Vettel also insisted that there would be no favours for the world championship contenders if they found themselves in trouble.

"It's F1, it's a long grand prix, and anything can happen," he confirmed, "For sure, if they have a problem, we won't wait for them, wait for them to go again. Everyone will drive past if they can."

The four-time champion, who will see his #1 plate go to one of the Mercedes drivers on Sunday evening, also found himself behind McLaren's Kevin Magnussen on the Friday timesheets and, even though Jenson Button ran into problems with his MP4-29, accepted that the Woking team could be a factor on race day as he attempts to defend a slim two-point lead over Fernando Alonso, with Valtteri Bottas just a point further back and double points on offer on Sunday.

"I definitely think McLaren has done a step forward in the last couple of races, and the nature of the track here maybe suits them a bit better than previous tracks," he conceded, "I think we have improved [our] car, but we can still improve. But it's Friday, so I guess we'll find out tomorrow."