Despite missing out on pole, Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari can be happy with its performance in qualifying Saturday afternoon in Melbourne.

The Scuderia was left in the dust by Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, with Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel ending the session respectively second and third, but over six tenths of a second behind the unassailable Silver Arrows.

Vettel noted significant improvements of his SF71-H however, and suggested the gap was close with Mercedes in race trim.

“I think we can be happy. Yesterday I wasn’t happy, I didn’t really feel the car. It just kept coming better in qualifying,” said the German right after the grid-defining session.

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“On the last lap I had a bit of a moment into [Turn] 13, I tried to brake really late and it didn’t work. It was really close and it’s exciting for us when it’s that close.

“It’s a shame that Lewis had quite a big gap at the end but I guess his lap was pretty good. Looking forward to tomorrow, I think we improved the car and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

The four-time world champion is ready for tomorrow’s battle royal, and is determined to give it his all the second the lights turn green.

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“It’s very close. We saw yesterday on the long runs that pace is very close. It’s not the easiest place to overtake but who knows,” he said.

“We have an opportunity at the start and the race, so who knows. I’m really happy for the team, it’s a good result. Let’s get going.”

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