Ferrari still has work to do to catch Mercedes - Kimi
Kimi Raikkonen says Ferrari still has work to do to compete consistently on Mercedes' pace but is confident it has taken a big chunk out of its rivals' lead following Sebastian Vettel's victory in Malaysia.
Ferrari took the fight to Mercedes over all three days in Sepang and came out on top by utilising its ability to maintain the performance of the tyres in hot conditions. Raikkonen, whose weekend was ruined by wet weather in qualifying and a puncture in the race, says Ferrari has closed the gap and knows some areas to work on in order to close it further.
"It might be the conditions here, very hot and good for us but I think even in Melbourne if we got behind them at the beginning I don't think they would have pulled away a lot," he said. "Obviously every circuit, conditions, everything plays a part of it but for sure it doesn't take away that it's a pretty strong package.
"We know that we're not exactly as fast as them - at least on one lap - but we're working on that and from where we finished last year and have been starting this year, it is a big step. The team has been doing the right things, pushing us in the right direction and little by little we will try to catch up with Mercedes, even though Sebastian won today we still know we have to improve in certain areas."
Raikkonen said Vettel's victory was not as big a surprise within the team as it was outside it.
"Obviously we had a good car in the first race and since the first test we always said we had a pretty good car. It's not a big surprise for us, obviously this weather probably helped and we got the pit stops right both with Seb and with me even with the issues.
"It's hard to say where we're going to be exactly at the next circuit because every circuit is different but it's a good base. Obviously we have things to improve and we will get new parts and stuff so that will always help. Like we said from the first test it's a massive step from last year and it's a great job from the team and a very good thing for the team."
Raikkonen said it would be difficult to predict if Ferrari's tyre advantage would help over the coming races.
"It's hard to say. Every circuit can be different, like I said conditions keep changing, layouts are different so whatever it is I think we still have a good package. We want to improve obviously on all the areas but you cannot predict where the new cars are going in the next race. It might be a different story, it might be exactly the same story, I don't know. I think we are in a pretty good position whatever it is and we just have to make the best out of it."