Sebastian Vettel says it would be a "big surprise" if 2015 pace setters Mercedes were to struggle again during this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.
Mercedes was off the pace across the Singapore Grand Prix, enabling Ferrari driver Vettel to convert his first pole position since 2013 into his third victory of the campaign.
Vettel, who trails Lewis Hamilton in the championship by 49 points, is nonetheless expecting Mercedes to return to the front of the pack at Suzuka, a circuit where the German has emerged victorious on four occasions.
"I think you have to remain realistic," he said. "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. As I said, the nature of the track is completely different here. We’ll have to wait. The weather could bring a lot of surprises as well. It’s going to be a tough weekend."
"I love the track; it’s a driver’s circuit. I think we all love the track. It’s one of the old school circuits on the calendar. It’s a lot of fun. If you want to know what a Formula 1 car can do then the first sector I would say sums it up and says pretty much all. In my point of view [it is] the best track in the world and great fun to be here."