Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari lacked “a little bit of everything” against Formula 1 rival Mercedes during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday after failing to get in the fight for pole position.

Ferrari arrived in Australia tipped by many as the favourite following an impressive showing through pre-season testing, only for Mercedes to take a one-two in qualifying, with Vettel finishing 0.7 seconds behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton in third.

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The result came as a surprise to many, including Vettel, who admitted Ferrari did not expect to be so far behind.

“The car felt really good at testing, and probably around here so far this weekend, it didn’t feel as good yet,” Vettel said.

“Yesterday was a difficult day for us, it was tricky. Today felt a bit better, but there’s not an awful lot of time to try different things.

“There’s still for us a bit of margin, but certainly the gap is there today, and was a surprise. We didn’t expect it coming here.

“But now it is that way. We focus on tomorrow and don’t worry about the gap now.”

Hamilton was able to take a sixth consecutive Australian Grand Prix pole ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Vettel failing to get within half a second of either Mercedes car.

Vettel’s teammate, Charles Leclerc, qualified fifth, more than a second in arrears to Hamilton.

Asked where he felt Ferrari’s car was lacking compared to Mercedes on Saturday, Vettel said it was “a little bit of everything”.

“I don’t think straight line is a problem, I think we are quite competitive in the straights, but I think we are losing in the corners,” Vettel added.

“[There are] 16 corners around here, and I think it’s fairly even on the straights, so probably if I look most of it so far, it was more the medium and lower speed stuff rather than the high-speed stuff, which I think speaks for a strong car in general.

“I haven’t got the balance yet that maybe I’d like to have, especially in slower speed, not the confidence and trust that around here make a big difference.

“When the gap is so big, we must lose time in more than one place. For tomorrow, I don’t know in the race if it will be closer.

“Today the car was better, and I expect it to be better again tomorrow.”

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