AUSTIN, Texas — Sebastian Vettel says the 67-point gap between himself and Lewis Hamilton tells you all you need to know about who has done a better job in this year’s championship fight.
Vettel’s title campaign is all but over ahead of this weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix as he arrives in Austin needing a top two finish just to keep his slim title hopes alive. A series of mistakes by the German midway through the season saw Hamilton take the lead in the championship and Mercedes’ recent performance gains have helped Hamilton move out of reach.
Asked if he accepted that Hamilton and Mercedes had done a better job this year, Vettel said: “So far yes,” he said on Thursday. “It’s pretty obvious, you just have to look at the points.
But Vettel thinks his mistakes, including crashing out the lead of the German Grand Prix, are not the only reasons for Ferrari’s struggle.
“Obviously there have been a lot of races so far and I think some I should’ve done better,” he said. “If you want to name one, then Hockenheim. Some that maybe we should’ve done better [as a team].
“But overall I think we just didn’t have enough races where we had the sped to dominate the weekend, put the car on pole and finish first. Unfortunately it didn’t happen too often, or not often enough.”
At the last round in Japan, Vettel attempted an over-optimistic overtaking move on Max Verstappen for third place and clashed with the Red Bull driver. On Thursday in Austin he admitted he will start taking an even more aggressive approach as part of an all-or-nothing attempt to close the gap to Hamilton.
“Generally I always try to win. I think you have to be aggressive to win, and of course you need to find the right balance. Obviously you never try to do something silly or not to finish, because that way you can’t win. I think that’s normal.
“The approach, I know what it takes, I know what to do, so in that regard it’s fairly similar, but for sure we know that we need to take probably here or there a bit more risk because we are not in a position to manage the gap in the championship, because we don’t have a gap.”