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Sebastian Vettel: Mercedes still the favourites in 2017

Sebastian Vettel insists Mercedes must still be considered the favourite for the Chinese Grand Prix despite Ferrari's win at the season opener in Australia.

Vettel beat pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton to victory in Melbourne to justify pre-season hype around Ferrari's form in Barcelona's winter tests. The win ended a Ferrari drought stretching back to the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix.

The Melbourne result has raised expectations around Ferrari, with many expecting Shanghai to give a better comparison between the two teams, but Vettel is refusing to write off the world champions at this early stage.

"I think Mercedes has to be still the favourite," Vettel said. "Obviously we had a very strong first race, but I think at least the way we look at it inside the team, we really go race by race. We know we have a good package, which puts us in a strong place, but there's lots of things we need to do to keep up with them and keep the position that we are in now to fight for good races."

Vettel says it is too early to compare Ferrari's 2017 car to its winless predecessor.

"Maybe my memory is wrong, but I remember [2016] better than what people make out of it now. For sure it wasn't the season that we wanted to have, so after one race, it's easy to say that this year is better than last year, but it's only one race. It's the start of the season. But for sure, a lot of things have changed since last year, the team has evolved.

"I think we generally are in a much better position. People are more comfortable throughout the whole team. I think the work that is going in is a lot more targeted and overall I think we're more confident with the way we work now. Hopefully we can keep up that trend to show that on the track."