Sebastian Vettel feels Ferrari is getting closer to Mercedes, despite a disappointing Austrian Grand Prix race day that arguably failed to live up to the promise of earlier practice sessions.

The German was quickest of all for Ferrari during Friday's track running, but couldn't get on terms with Mercedes in qualifying and failed to mount a challenge in the race either.

Going on to finish fourth after a bungled pit-stop left him behind the Williams of Felipe Massa, Vettel nonetheless feels the pace in the latter half of the race was on a par with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton up ahead.

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"I think it is a lot closer than we have been in the past," he said. "We were hoping to be closer to put some pressure on, especially in the opening laps, but they were very impressive from their side.

"They were more than three tenths quicker per lap [early on], then I think around the end it was more stabilised around one to three tenths a lap, which closed the gap we had to Williams. Overall I think we were closer the whole weekend but unfortunately not close enough to put pressure on them."

Reflecting on why he couldn't get past Massa in the final laps after catching him, he says the experienced Brazilian made no errors for him to launch a challenge.

"Last year the Williams was one of the hardest cars to overtake because they were so quick on the straights. Where you want to pass is on the straight or under braking but it was difficult to get close enough. I tried to push him into some mistakes, small mistakes, but there was never really a mistake to allowed me to pounce."