Vettel eyes Melbourne win, but Mercedes are 'clear favourites'


Matthew Scott

Vettel eyes Melbourne win, but Mercedes are 'clear favourites'

Sebastian Vettel has not given up hope of winning the Australian Grand Prix for a third year in succession, but he says Mercedes are clear favourites to secure success in Melbourne after Lewis Hamilton took a dominant pole position for the Silver Arrows.

Hamilton just pipped Valtteri Bottas at the last in Q3 to secure pole in Melbourne for a sixth year in a row, but Vettel was a whopping seven tenths behind the reigning champion.

Ferrari had been heavily tipped coming into the season, but the Scuderia have trailed their rivals all weekend up to this point.

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Vettel was similarly off the pace in Melbourne last year, but still went on to win the race thanks to a strategic error by Mercedes and the German hopes something can fall in his favour again come race day.

Asked if Ferrari still hold hope of winning, Vettel said: "Of course, I think we can.

"You never know what's happening, last year we got a bit lucky. But the race is not over until you see the chequered flag.

"I think we have a good race car, we are in good form. Mercedes are clear favourites after the result today and the pace they showed so far.

"But we're here to race, otherwise it would be quite dull, I'm sure all the people would agree.

"We'll see what happens tomorrow. Our starts are pretty handy, so we'll go from there."

Vettel was simply never on the pace of either Mercedes driver throughout the qualifying sessions, but said it is not down to anything having gone wrong on the SF90.

"For us it was OK, I had an off in Q2 which wasn't planned but I tried," he said.

"The car feels alright, there's not anything wrong.

"I think we have a good car nonetheless and this track is very specific, so I'm not worried too much.

"For sure it's not great. We would love it to be the other way around."

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