Seb and Kimi eye podium


Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen believe the Ferrari car is good enough to challenge for the final podium spot in Melbourne on Sunday.

While the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were – as expected – out of reach during qualifying for the season-opening Australian GP, the battle for third place proved to be very tight.

Felipe Massa from Williams got there in the end, but it wasn't by a big margin as Vettel was just 0.039s behind him in fourth with Raikkonen also not too far behind in fifth place.

The signs have been good throughout testing for Ferrari and four-time World Champion Vettel feels they definitely have the pace to challenge for the final podium spot in the race.

"Let’s keep our feet on the ground. So far this weekend, it’s gone well and we’ve had no problems with the car," the German said. "It’s a shame that third place escaped us, as that would have made us the first team behind Mercedes, but it wasn’t by much and, after all the race is tomorrow. 

"We lost third place because my first run wasn’t quick enough: I’m not very pleased with myself, because there was still some performance to be found, which would have meant I’d have qualified one place higher. In terms of strategy, maybe we could have done something different, but basically the result is down to me. 

"First and second are a long way in front, but the race is tomorrow and anything can happen during the Grand Prix. A podium? There’s not much of a gap between third and fourth on the grid, so I think the podium is a realistic goal and that’s what we have to aim for."

Raikkonen appears to have a new lease on life after struggling during qualifying in 2014, but the Finn was right up there in all three sessions on Saturday, and he is also optimistic about their chances.

"On my quick lap, I lost around three tenths at turn 3 and then I made a couple of mistakes in the next two corners," the 2007 World Champion said. "We knew we couldn’t fight the Mercedes, at least not in today’s qualifying, but third place on the grid was possible. 

"In any case, during free practice, we saw that our long runs are pretty good, so we can be confident of having a good race. All we need to do is get a good start and then give it our best, but I think we can fight for a good position. 

"As a team, we are working well together and we have a pretty clear picture of the situation. We know we are quick, but we need to improve in all sectors and, as for myself, I have to drive better."