Sebastian Vettel feels it would be a “big surprise” if Mercedes’ Singapore struggles continued at Suzuka this weekend.
Mercedes were woefully off the pace set by the Ferrari driver in both Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race in Singapore.
This not only resulted in Vettel claiming his first pole position as a Ferrari driver but also his third win of the Championship.
The German, though, has all but ruled out a repeat performance this weekend in Japan but says Ferrari are ready to pounce if Mercedes falter again.
“It’s a completely different track here,” Vettel said when asked if a similar situation could arise. “We’d hope so, but you have to remain realistic.
“I think in a way it was a big surprise to see Mercedes struggling, which I don’t expect to be the case here. Again it would be a big surprise, but if the chance is there we have to go for it.
“The nature of the track is completely different here so we’re going to have to wait. The weather could bring a lot of surprises as well so it’s going to be a tough weekend.”
As for his prospects for the remainder of the campaign, Vettel, who is 49 points behind Hamilton in the Drivers’ standings, says while his SF15-T is performing well at most tracks, Mercedes are still the ones to beat.
“It is difficult to say looking at the results so far this year.
“We have had a great car at every track, on street tracks like Monaco and Singapore, and other tracks as well Malaysia and Silverstone. If you look at so many races, we were not completely off the page so we can be reasonably confident.
“We have learned along the way, and hopefully that means we will at the end be a bit stronger. But the favourites still have to remain Mercedes with their two cars.”