Sebastian Vettel insists that Mercedes remains clear favourite for the Formula 1 world championship, despite his Singapore Grand Prix triumph.
The German has put himself back in the title fight after closing to within 49 points of leader Lewis Hamilton with six races remaining.
But well aware that Singapore marked the only weekend so far this year where Mercedes has struggled for pace, Vettel knows that he still faces an uphill battle to slash down Hamilton's advantage.
When asked at Suzuka on Thursday about Ferrari's prospects for the next few races, Vettel said: "It is difficult to say looking at the results so far this year.
"We have had a great car at every track, on street tracks like Monaco and Singapore, and other tracks as well Malaysia and Silverstone. If you look at so many races, we were not completely off the page so we can be reasonably confident.
"We have learned along the way, and hopefully that means we will at the end be a bit stronger. But the favourites still have to remain Mercedes with their two cars."
Vettel was in a class of his own on the street track in Singapore, but is well aware that Suzuka's high-speed nature demands different car characteristics.
He confessed that he would be shocked if he could repeat what happened in Singapore, but says he and his team will do everything they can to win.
"It is a completely different track here, but we hope so," he explained. "We have to remain realistic.
"In a way it was a big surprise to see Mercedes struggling, which I don't expect to be the case here. It would be a big surprise, but if the chance is there we have to go for it.
"The nature of the track is completely different here. The weather could bring a lot of surprises as well so it will be a tough weekend."