In qualifying this weekend, he held the lap record temporarily until Hamilton swooped on the last lap and with seconds to go to take that from him, along with pole position. "There wasn't one single session that he wasn't good enough".
With the Australian Grand Prix having been Mattia Binotto's first race as Ferrari's team principal, will the team's decision-making change at any point throughout the remainder of the 2019 Formula 1 season? "I am sure we will have tough and tight battles but more than that I hope we have a lot of fun together".
"The auto was working really well and we also look strong on the straights which is hopefully a good sign for the rest of the season", said the Dutchman. It had been so close throughout the weekend and it's awesome to see how close the top 16 are, less than a second between us all at one point and that's a real positive for the rule regulations.
But before the 2018 season ended, Ferrari confirmed that they would be replacing Raikkonen with rising star Charles Leclerc for the 2019 season.
Vettel's lacklustre race, in which he was passed on track by Max Verstappen's Red Bull, only intensifies the importance of the next round in Bahrain. I am sure for Ferrari that something has not been right this weekend but I am pretty sure that the vehicle is still good. I'm certainly surprised (by the gap to Mercedes) I think everybody is, probably even themselves.
Asked why they had asked Leclerc to hold position in the closing laps, Binotto said: "I don't think it was really a decision - it was not a hard one".
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"Usually after the first four races you get a better idea of where we all stand. I don't know what their problem was but I am sure they will come back strongly in the next races, so we have to stay on our toes".
And despite Stroll's early emission from qualifying, there was something to cheers about back at the Acronis Mission Control Centre in Silverstone, Perez giving himself a decent shot at points on race day.
"The performance [in the race] is simply reflecting what we had in qualy as well". The key today was to avoid mistakes and be consistent.
The 29-year-old Finn kept his emotions in check after what he described as the drive of his life to win the Australian GP on Sunday, his fourth F1 title and his first since 2017 - the year he won three. As I always say, it doesn't matter where you start the season, but where you finish.
However, the gap between Bottas and Hamilton was a huge one, something that Vettel did not quite understand.
"Since I started to work with drivers 15 years ago, I try to comprehend what is going on in their brains, and I don't", he admitted.