Melbourne: World champion Sebastian Vettel was satisfied with second place at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, saying it was the best he could have hoped for given the dominance of McLaren`s winner Jenson Button.
The 24-year-old German knows all about dominance having won the last two world championships and last year`s race in Melbourne by an intimidating margin.
Vettel believes the team underperformed by putting both of their cars on the third row of the grid at Albert Park and was looking forward to having another crack at the McLarens at next week`s Malaysian Grand Prix.
"They were too strong for us today, Jenson deserved to win. He was out of reach for us today, I`m very happy with second," he said
"We expected them to be strong. We were a little bit surprised by their pace in qualifying yesterday and today it looked a little bit better for us.
"Nevertheless they are the ones to beat at the moment. We have another race in Malaysia next week. If I recall last year, we were pretty dominant here and then qualifying (at Sepang) was just a few hundredths of a second between Lewis and me.
"We`ll see what happens next week."
Vettel conceded that his car was still not as he would like it but with 19 more races to come, he was confident major improvements could be made quickly.
"The car has a lot of potential," he said. "Obviously we would have loved to have been in a better position yesterday but now we understand the car better and we need to fix the problems and give (McLaren) a harder time next week.
"There`s a long race ahead of us and opportunities to fight," he added. "My target was to win the race, I finished second and I`m happy with that. The winner today totally deserved it so that was our maximum."
Vettel`s Australian team mate Mark Webber finished fourth and was delighted with his best ever finish in his 11th attempt to win his home race.
A poor start saw him slip from fifth to ninth before the first corner and he got swallowed up in some argy-bargy in the midfield.
"Very happy, after the first lap," he said.
"I need to see if I did anything wrong at the start."
"Let`s see how next week goes, it`s very early days but the impression is that it looks like we are going to be in the battle."
Team boss Christian Horner, who has led Red Bull to the last two constructors` totles, also suggested that Malaysia would be a better guage of where the leading contenders stand than the street circuit at Albert Park.
"We`ve taken quite a lot of understanding from this weekend," he said.
"Both drivers haven`t been totally happy with the car here and next weekend is a whole new challenge."
"It`s not a temporary course, it`s long fast corners as well. But we`ve understood some of the issues that we`ve had here and hopefully we`ll be looking to get on top of them next weekend in Malaysia."