After taking a closer look in the comparison video with Lewis's pole and Vettels 1st Q3 lap i saw a few things. The straight line speed is now much closer than it was in Australia. No team changed any of their wings/monkey seats for China, so probably Merc used a bit more front wing flap angle, and/or Ferrari used a little less. This also aligns with the observable increase of oversteer that Merc had here compared with Australia.
On the pit straight the Ferrari was actually slightly quicker and reached turn 1 just a bit sooner than the Merc. On most other straights it was very close, with the only difference came in the long back straight where the Ferrari reached 327kph and then it started clipping and his speed dropped to 322kph before Vettel started to brake for the hairpin, Hamilton reached 329kph.
It looked also like the Ferrari was more comparable in slow speed performance, and it looked like it had at least as good traction as the Merc. However the braking advantage that we saw in Australia disappeared here, and on high speed corners both cars also looked very closely matched. Really the biggest difference came in turn 8 where Hamilton carried a lot more speed than Vettel for whatever reason. The apex looked quite bumpy, so maybe the Merc has a more compliant suspension than the Ferrari, or just in that lap Vettel carried less speed through there (after all he improved his S2 time on this 2nd run). All in all it looks very close between both cars, and it is a shame that tomorrow will be dry as won't be able too see if the Ferrari really has a better tire wear, or Australia was an outlier.