Sebastian Vettel admitted he expected to be closer to the pace of the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team than he actually was despite qualifying best-of-the-rest in third at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Saturday.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver expects the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton to be strong during the race as well, but is looking to do everything he can to try and maintain his second position in the championship ahead of Rosberg.
“To be fair, when I woke up this morning and even after P3, I thought we would be a bit closer to the Mercedes than we actually were in qualifying: unfortunately, they proved to be very strong,” said Vettel.
“They were doing two consecutive laps, they were not using all the energy in one lap, so we need to be careful as I think they will be very quick also tomorrow in the race. But we will try our best, we are here to fight, we have nothing to lose. Nico is the primary target, we want to keep second position in the championship and we’ll do everything we can to achieve that.
“I hope that our race pace tomorrow is going to be as good as it looked yesterday; obviously it is always difficult to know what other people are doing, but considering that we were on the harder tyre, on Friday we seemed to be very quick on the long-runs.
“I hope we can be quick tomorrow as well, and make the tyres last. I think this will be the key for the race because on paper it looks easy, but then, with all the sliding around from low grip surface, we’ve seen many people struggling to keep their tyres alive.”