Sebastian Vettel has accepted that Ferrari's deficit to Mercedes during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix was larger than expected, though is encouraged that the outfit has saved a set of tyres for the race.
Vettel set the third fastest time during Q3, albeit 0.838s adrift of World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who collected pole position for the season opener in Melbourne.
"In comparison to the Mercedes drivers we are a bit further behind than we expected, but we are happy with 3rd and 4th, especially for me as it was a bit difficult to find the rhythm in qualifying," he said.
"I felt quite good with the car in P3, but then it took some time to get back, and only in Q3 it really started to happen.
"I had a very good lap, and in the end, because the gap was quite big, I felt that my first lap had been good enough.
"There really wasn't another half a second in there, so we called it off, and saved a set of tyres, although surely we would have loved to be closer."
Kimi Raikkonen will start from fourth position and insists Mercedes' pace advantage is not a worry.
"It was not the ideal qualifying, but not too bad either," he said. "The car feels pretty good, and even if the Mercedes are faster than us I don't think we should be too worried.
"I was struggling a bit with the front tyres to get them working at the first three corners, but apart from that we had a very good package and it was getting better and better.
"Maybe for us it would have been better to have warmer conditions."