Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel says he is very happy "for now" to have secured second place on the grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix, splitting the Mercedes' of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Vettel took provisional pole position right at the end of the top-ten shootout, only to be overhauled by Hamilton when the Briton went 0.411s quicker.

It was still enough though to put him ahead of Rosberg, with Vettel and Hamilton the only two to break the 1m 33s bracket.

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Speaking after qualifying, Vettel added that he expects the fight to probably be even closer on Sunday in the grand prix itself.

"First of all I'm very happy with second today," Vettel said. "It was a tough session. At the beginning I didn't really find the rhythm that I seemed to have in practice but then towards the end more and more it was getting better, I was feeling happier in the car and I felt more comfortable to push.

"For now I'm very happy with the front row and hopefully tomorrow we can have a good start and then a good race from there. I think in the race we are maybe a bit closer so we will see what happens."

Asked about the work going on at Maranello that is allowing Ferrari to take the fight to Mercedes, he added: "We are progressing as a team. [Although] for this race we didn't bring any updates in particular, so it's really the circuit that is maybe a little better for us," he continued.

"It's also about continuously working with the car, getting on top of what to do with the car, learning and how the changes are reacting on track. That's the area where are making most progress at the minute.

"We are trying to push in all areas, but for now we can be very happy with where we are. Today was the first time we were able to split them through dry conditions in qualifying, so I'm very happy," concluded the four-time Formula 1 World Champion.