Ferrari had led to the F1 season opener as clear favourite following an extremely robust winter testing programme in Barcelona.
But Mercedes turned the tables on the Italian team with a surprise measure in form since Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas took the top two positions on the grid with Vettel down in third.
Vettel said later he never expected this type from Mercedes, but has beliefs that Ferrari’s SF90 is quicker than it has revealed in Melbourne.
“I’m certainly astonished, I think everyone is, probably even themselves,” said the German.
“I think yesterday we did not have a good day, and today felt better. But concerning pace and gap it had been very similar.
“without a doubt there was some homework for us to complete to understand. I still think we now have a terrific vehicle. We have to be much better than this, therefore I’m anticipating tomorrow.”
Vettel believes that Ferrari is lacking in any specific area at Albert Park, but shows that Mercedes is much better in the kind of low and moderate corners that characterise the track.
“I don’t think the straight line is a problem because we are competitive down the straights, we’re only losing in the corners,” he explained. “You can find 16 corners round here and I think that it is fairly evenly dispersed.
“Likely by the appearances of this and so much it had been the lower and moderate material, as opposed to the highspeed, which also speaks to your strong car in general.
“I haven’t got the balance yet that maybe I would like to own in the lower rate, and perhaps maybe not the confidence and trust which again can make a big difference.”
Vettel has been clear, however, that the Ferrari hasn’t felt nearly as good in Australia since it did during computer-based testing.
“We’ve probably something such as 10 15 amounts more ambient [temperature], a hotter track, also also different circuit, therefore complete different states,” he explained.
“But the car felt quite good in testing and probably around here this weekend so much it did not feel nearly as good yet.
“Yesterday was a tricky day for us, it had been catchy. Today felt a bit better, however, there is not a lot of time for you and energy to test out different things.
“You have to get on with this, sessions come fast, especially in qualifying you can not change much, if such a thing you get a better comprehension of the place you’re missing outside or at which it seems uneasy.
“for all of us there is a tiny perimeter but undoubtedly the difference is there today and was a surprise, we did not expect it arriving here. But now it really is that manner and we focus on tomorrow and also don’t get worried about the gap now.”