Laurence Edmondson, F1 Editor 404d

Sebastian Vettel: It will be difficult to match Mercedes

Formula 1

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Sebastian Vettel says Mercedes is the clear favourite for victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix after the first two sessions of Friday practice.

Newly-crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton topped both sessions ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Vettel's best effort over 0.3s off the fastest time in FP2 and over 0.6s off the fastest time of the day (set in FP1).

Vettel's championship hopes finally slipped away at the last round in Mexico, meaning he is now racing for second place in the championship against Bottas, but following Friday practice he believes both Mercedes have the edge over Ferrari.

"I think overall it's pretty straightforward: Mercedes seems to be the quickest and then it's pretty close between Red Bull and us," he said.

"I think the track was in pretty good shape and I think car-wise we can fine tune the balance and that should help us get the pace up for qualifying and the race."

After losing the title in Mexico, Vettel said he enjoyed getting back in the car in Brazil on Friday.

"I like driving, so it was nice. We did a lot of laps today. It's more quiet on-track than off-track, so I enjoyed that!

"But as I said, it will be difficult to match Mercedes -- I think they're a bit ahead, both of them. They look quick in all conditions, all tyres. So we'll see."

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