“Daniel (Ricciardo) showed in Melbourne that the car is fast on a wet track,” the reigning world champion said at hot Sepang.
Recovering Red Bull, he suggested, needs some help from the skies to catch up with the new best team on the grid.
“Mercedes is still a step ahead,” admitted the German.
What Vettel is not at all excited about, however, is the sound of the sport’s new turbo V6 engines. He said sitting in a bar on a Saturday night is more noisy.
As for the new sound of F1, “It’s shit,” he told reporters in Malaysia.
Vettel said that if he had written the rules, “We’d have a nice V12 in the back of the cars”.
A fellow world champion, however, didn’t like the sound of all the moaning about the ‘new’ face of formula one.
He said complaining drivers like Vettel should “Go and race somewhere else if you’re not happy here”.
According to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, Felipe Massa also can’t understand why drivers are suddenly complaining about the sound.
“We have known for years that the V6 with a turbo will not make the same sound as a V8,” said the Brazilian. “So it makes no sense to be upset about it now.”
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was reserving his judgement completely.
“If I say now that I think the show was bad (in Melbourne), then I will be accused of being frustrated because I didn’t win,” he said.
The other buzz words in the Sepang paddock are ‘fuel flow’, as uncertainty surrounds whether Red Bull will risk more disqualifications by once again ignoring the new FIA-supplied sensor.
Ricciardo, who lost his second place in Melbourne, said: “I trust the team to make the right decisions.”
And Vettel also backed Red Bull to do the right thing for the team.
“Of course we are always trying to exploit everything to the limit — but always within the rules,” he said.
But Spaniard Alonso suggested he cannot understand Red Bull boss Christian Horner’s claim that the accuracy of sensors will be the difference between success and failure.
“When it comes to incorrect measurements, we are talking about numbers after the decimel point,” said the Ferrari driver.
“Nobody will win or lose a race (because of fuel flow),” he added.
Kimi Räikkönen, on the other hand, was taking issue with his own team.
After Melbourne, Ferrari quoted the Finn as having said the 2014 car’s new brake-by-wire system is “definitely” a major reason he struggled for performance in Australia.
“Ah, I don’t know where that (quote) came from,” Raikkonen said on Thursday. “It’s not the issue. There is nothing wrong with the system.”