Tipped as pre-season favourites, the German and new teammate Charles Leclerc finished fourth and fifth in Melbourne, nearly a minute behind the dominant race-winning Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. Albert Park can be seen as something of an outlier, but Ferrari hope the more traditional layout of Bahrain’s 5.4km Sakhir desert track will allow them to unlock the full potential of the SF90 car.
The most successful team in Bahrain, with six wins overall, can draw encouragement from last year when Mercedes were faster in Australia only for Ferrari to turn the tables with a front-row lockout and victory for Vettel.
That also started a streak of three straight pole positions for the German.
“In Bahrain, we expect to see the effect of the corrections we have made ...,” said principal Mattia Binotto, who replaced Maurizio Arrivabene at the helm before the start of the season.