Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel says he doesn't expect Mercedes to struggle again this weekend in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Vettel put in a dominant performance in Singapore last Sunday and the victory there saw him close on Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the 2015 F1 Drivers' Championship, leaving him 8 points shy of the latter and 49 points off the former. However, the German still believes Mercedes are very much the “favourites”.
“It is a totally different track here, but we'd hope so,” he replied when asked if Ferrari can translate the performance it had in Singapore to Suzuka. “But you have to remain realistic [too].
“I think in a way it was a big surprise to see Mercedes struggling, which I don't expect to be the case here. Again it would be a big surprise – but if the chance is there we have to go for it. So, the nature of the track, as I said, is completely different here. We will have to wait. The weather could bring a lot of surprises as well. It is going to be a tough weekend.”
Pressed on what Ferraris chances are this Sunday and in the races to come, Vettel added: “I don't know - it is difficult to say. Looking at the results so far this year we have had a great car on every track and every nature of circuit – street circuits, like Monaco and Singapore we have been competitive, but on other tracks as well, like Malaysia.
“Silverstone was probably one of the weekends where we lost a little bit of that, but then again you look at so many races in the same year [this season] and we weren't completely off the page.
“I think we can be reasonably confident, but of course we have to remain realistic. I think we have learnt along the way, hopefully that means we will again be a bit stronger.
“But the favourites I think still remain Mercedes with their two cars.”
Meanwhile, Vettel said how happy he is to be back at Suzuka, a track where he has won four out of six times.
“I love this track – it is a driver's circuit. I think we all love the track. It is one of the old school circuits in the calendar and it is a lot of fun. If you want to know what a Formula 1 car can do, then the first sector, I would say, sums it up and says pretty much all. From my point of view it is the best track in the world and great fun to be here.”