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Vettel: Merc still quite far away

Friday 18-April-2014 09:52

Mercedes may not have trounced the field in Chinese practice but Sebastian Vettel reckons that's because "maybe they didn't run full beans today."

Although Mercedes went into Friday's sessions at the Shanghai circuit as the firm favourites, it was Fernando Alonso who set the pace in FP1.

The Ferrari driver also got involved in the latter session, which was topped by Lewis Hamilton, as he split the Mercedes duo.

Red Bull were also up there involved in the tussle.

While Daniel Ricciardo was fourth, 0.496s off the pace, Vettel brought his RB10 home in fifth place, a further 0.2s down.

Asked whether this meant Red Bull were on the heels of Mercedes, the German was quick to downplay any expectations.

"Maybe they didn't run full beans today, so it's difficult to say," he told reporters in the paddock. "They are still the favourites and they are still quite far away.

"I was behind the Mercedes on the long run and it looked like they could do what they want.

"But it depends what tyres you have on the car and what time you go out."

He added: "I think for us it was a good day but not yet at their level."

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