Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen says understeer in the opening stint was to blame for his disappointing performance in the 2017 Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
While team-mate Vettel romped to a convincing victory, Raikkonen was largely a bystander in the Ferrari-Mercedes battle throughout the weekend, qualifying and finishing a distant fourth.
The Finn finished the race 22 seconds adrift of Vettel - and he says that the damage to his race was done in the opening laps when he was in "nowhere land".
"Yesterday we suffered a bit with understeer on the car and it was a similar story on the first set of tyres," Raikkonen said after the race.
"Once we put the soft tyres on, the car turned to be very good and I was very happy - but obviously at that point we were pretty much in nowhere land.
"I really think we understood yesterday already why we were lacking but it was too late.
"I think we know what we have to do and it should be OK."
Raikkonen came under pressure from Red Bull driver Max Verstappen in the latter stages of the race, but the Ferrari driver insisted this was down to him saving fuel.
The Finn acknowledged that the result fell short of his expectations, but said he was content to have made a solid start - having failed to finish the season-opener for the previous two years.
"It's a bit disappointing where I finished but we know what we have to do - and at least we finished.
"For a few years we hadn't finished the race and obviously that wasn't the ideal start.
"This is not 100% what we wanted but I'll take it.
"Even if it's disappointing, I'm pretty happy that we've understood a lot of things.
"I'm pretty confident that we'll be back where we should be in the next race.
"You know we have a strong package and we have some foundation now and understanding, so that's the main thing and we go from here."