I should have done better, admits Vettel

In the winter months after Abu Dhabi, ahead of the launches and pre-season testing, the F1 media will spend much of the time questioning when and how it all went so wrong for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel.

Despite the false alarm of 2017 – at least the first half of the season – this time it really seemed Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton were going to be toppled, that their reign was over.

But a number of disappointing performances by the German and his team, coupled with a Hamilton on top of his game and Mercedes leaving nothing to chance, has seen the title fight turned fully around, to the point that the Prancing Horse could be put out of its misery this weekend.

Asked if Mercedes has done a better job than Ferrari, Vettel admitted: “So far, yes. It’s pretty obvious. You just have to look at the points.

“I should have done better,” he adds. “Maybe we should have done better, but overall we just didn’t have enough races where we had the speed to dominate the weekend and put the car on pole and finish first.”

Asked if there was a turning point, he shook his head. “I am not a believer in this has been the turning point or the stars have been wrongly aligned and all this,” he replied. “I don’t believe it.

“But if you want to name one, then Hockenheim,” he added, referring to the race where he was heading to certain home victory, just days after beating Hamilton on his home ground. Then, as the rain began to fall, the German made a needless error, slithering off the track in front of the thousands of fans that packed the arena section. Their frustration was nothing compared to his, the German pummelling his steering wheel in anger.

“I don’t think it’s much point now to start thinking too much about what happened,” he said. “I think it’s still something that we have in our hands to change and that’s what we look for.”

Asked how he will approach the weekend, he replied: “We are quite some points behind, we focus on winning and then we see what the others are doing, so it’s quite straightforward to be honest. Generally I always try to win so I think you have to be aggressive to win. And of course you need to find the right balance so obviously you never try to do something silly or not to finish because that way you can’t win.

“I know what it takes, I know what to do, but for sure we know we need to take probably here or there a bit more risk because we are not in the position to manage the gap in the championship, because we don’t have a gap.”

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