File picture: Benoit Tessier / Reuters.

Monaco - Sebastian Vettel finished second in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix and then warned Ferrari that the team has a lot of work to do if it is to catch pace-setting rival Mercedes.

Speaking to reporters after a tense and dramatic race, the four-time champion German expressed relief at finally gaining a respectable result for the Italian team.

But, he added, it was not much to celebrate on a day when his team-mate Charles Leclerc had started 15th on the grid and failed to finish after a thrilling charge in the early laps.

"Obviously, it's a great result for us and for the team," he said. "But this weekend has shown us that we have a lot of work to do. We are not yet quick enough compared to these guys.

"This was obviously a tough race to manage and here, in Monaco, something can always happen, which it did today. I think we had a good stop but Max must have had an incredible stop and I saw them (Verstappen and Bottas) touching in the pit-lane.

"I thought there could be a good chance for me to capitalise on Valtteri's puncture, which was a shame for him, and from then, we tried to stay there, to put the pressure on.

"I think Lewis and Max were in a worse position managing the tyres. Mine were just not getting hot, so it was actually a bit tricky."

Vettel said Hamilton deserved his win for toughing out the second half of the race under incredible pressure from Verstappen.

"Today is obviously about the winner, so congrats to Lewis."

Leclerc said: "I had to take a lot of risks, which we did – but, unfortunately, when we're starting 15th, which is not our real pace position, it was difficult to come back from.

"It was fun at the beginning. Unfortunately, it ended in disaster - but that's Monaco."

Agence France-Presse