Sebastian Vettel thinks Ferrari can recover from being beaten in qualifying by Mercedes with stronger race pace.

Vettel qualified in third, over half a second off Valtteri Bottas' pole lap, but having seen both Ferrari drivers look more competitive in the free practice sessions yesterday including Vettel topping FP2 the Ferman driver remains encouraged despite being unable to convert it into qualifying success, with Kimi Raikkonen in P5 and another two tenths back.

Nevertheless, he said the session was positive, “I think it was a good session but a bit of a shame to be that far back in qualifying,” Vettel said. “Tomorrow we will see with race pace I think we can be a bit closer but they have been very, very strong.

“Valtteri obviously had a mega lap so congratulations to him but it should be a fun race. Overtaking is not always straightforward but not impossible so we’ll see.”

Vettel also says Mercedes has had a very dominant weekend but that he had been expecting Hamilton, not his team-mate, to take the final pole position of the year.

“Yesterday and this morning I was quite confident that Lewis in particular was very quick, like in FP3, and should get more in the direction of yesterday but it was more the other way around,” he said. “Mercedes in general were very quick, Valtteri put in a mega lap so the gap was bigger than I expected.”

Looking over the long-run pace makes the Ferrari look more competitive with Mercedes, so Vettel remained optimistic about the race.

“For tomorrow though I think the gap will shrink, I hope so anyway, then we will see what we can do.”

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