While Mercedes may still have the ultimate edge in terms of pace, the Ferrari driver has won both races so far.
Lewis Hamilton admits he is worried.
“There are good things to come but I am 17 points behind now. I cannot afford to lose any more points to Sebastian,” said the Mercedes driver.
Vettel said in Australia that he is struggling personally with the handling of the new Ferrari, but he seemed much happier in Bahrain.
“I had more confidence in the car, a better feel,” he admitted.
“Shanghai is completely different, quite a bit cooler, but if we do like Bahrain and find the sweet spot, I’m pretty confident we can do well.”
Vettel is also a notably superstitious man, and so it’s interesting that he has touched down in China with his bizarre undercut hairstyle having been freshly re-done.
Not since 1982 has the winner of the opening two grands prix of a season not gone on to be champion.
“I don’t believe in all those things,” Vettel said. “Sometimes they work for you, sometimes against.
“We have a very, very long season ahead of us. It’s clear that we need to improve. I think the three top teams and six drivers are very, very close to each other.
“Even if the first two races went amazingly for us, for others maybe not so much, there’s still a long, long way and a lot of things that can happen,” he added.