Sebastian Vettel was left feeling "down" by the gap between himself and Mercedes in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix and hopes Ferrari can reel in the Silver Arrows on race day.
Ferrari had been tipped as the team to beat in the desert this weekend and outperformed Mercedes in the race simulations, while Vettel was top of both practice sessions on Friday.
However, Vettel - who is level with Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers' standings with the rivals having won one race apiece this season - was 0.478 seconds adrift of Valtteri Bottas, the Mercedes man clinching his first career pole.
Vettel was happy to have qualified third but struggled to hide his disappointment at Mercedes' dominant showing.
"In Q2 I thought 'okay, it will be tight, happy to go into Q3' - and then I was very happy with my first lap," said Vettel.
"And when I got the time, I was a bit down. Four tenths was a lot more than expected given how good I felt.
"On the last run, I tried probably too hard everywhere, we had nothing to lose.
"I tried a bit harder but it didn't work, was slightly slower. Being a tenth quicker [would not be] good enough but I tried."
Vettel was unsure as to why Ferrari lost time on their rivals.
"I haven't seen where we lost most of the time, but a little spread everywhere," he added.
"Sector one and three stood out, sector two not too bad. I don't know if they [Mercedes] have an update for here and they can push harder.
"We lost a bit more time there, a bit more than usual. For [the race], the most important thing is the car felt good."