Kimi Raikkonen insists Ferrari still areas where it must improve despite team-mate Sebastian Vettel producing win in the Malaysian Grand Prix in a straight-fight with Mercedes.

Former champion Raikkonen endured a fraught race in Sepang after early contact left him with a puncture. Forcing him to charge through the field, Raikkonen did his bit to showcase Ferrari's pace by going on to finish in fourth position, behind his race winning team-mate.

Raising hope that Ferrari can start mounting a regular challenge to the might of Mercedes', though Raikkonen says the potential of the car means the result isn't too unexpected, he insists there is still room for improvement.

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"Obviously we had a good car in the first race and since the first test we always said we had a pretty good car - it's not a big surprise for us," he said.

"We know that we're not exactly as fast as Mercedes - at least on one lap - but we're working on that and from where we finished last year and have been starting this year is a big step. The team has been doing the right things, pushing us in the right direction and little by little we will try to catch up with Mercedes, even though Sebastian won today we still know we have to improve in certain areas."

One of the hottest F1 races on record, with track temperatures exceeding 60 degrees, the Ferrari's ability to preserve its tyres has caught the eye, with Raikkonen suggesting it may be hard to replicate such a feat elsewhere.

"Obviously this weather probably helped and we got the pit stops right both with Seb and with me even with the issues. Every circuit can be different and the conditions keep changing. Layouts are different so whatever it is I think we still have a good package. We want to improve obviously on all the areas but you cannot predict where the new cars are going in the next race. It might be a different story, it might be exactly the same story, I don't know."