Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari were a “little too far behind” on Friday in practice for this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the F1 2015 season finale, with Force India “surprisingly quick”.
Vettel ended up fifth quickest in both sessions at the Yas Marina Circuit, trailing the lead Mercedes by almost a second in P1 and by over seven tenths in P2.
He was also 0.107s off Force India's Sergio Perez in third at the end of the day, and 0.070s shy of Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull in fourth.
“All in all it's Friday so I think we can still improve and we have to improve,” Vettel remarked. “We are a little too far behind.
“I would like the gap to be smaller [to Mercedes] and also the gap to be bigger compared to the cars behind. Force India is surprisingly quick and also the Red Bulls, there is a lot of work for us.”
Asked if they can get closer to Mercedes on Saturday, Vettel replied: “I don't know, today is Friday. They looked very quick as usual - unfortunately - but we will try our best.
“I think we can improve ourselves and then we will see where we are tomorrow.”
As for the soft tyre, Vettel reported it was fine: “Yeah it seemed OK, fairly consistent. Obviously we split the work as usual so I am happy to find out what Kimi says but I think we should be reasonably well prepared for Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Vettel added that he started P2 by singing Happy Birthday over the radio to his race engineer Riccardo Adami as he'd forgotten to wish him well earlier on.
“I sort of missed out this morning so I thought I had to come up with something special to make it up,” he remarked.
“I hope it was not distracting, I think my first lap was not stellar! But I think it was OK and he was very happy, it's a very special day so I think he will remember that.”