Getting his, and Ferrari‘s, season off to the best possible start, with back-to-back wins in Australia and Bahrain, for the first half of the season the title fight swung like a pendulum between the German and his nemesis, Lewis Hamilton.
However, weeks after denying Hamilton victory on the Briton’s home soil, Vettel threw away a certain win in Germany, the Ferrari star and his team never really recovering.
While Vettel continued to make mistakes, so too a number of updates introduced by the Italian team actually caused it to fall behind, this just weeks after a couple of performances that effectively saw the Mercedes left for dead.
Leaving aside his own mistakes, speaking at the FIA Awards Gala, Vettel admitted that Ferrari must improve its pace and consistency next season.
Asked what he needed from his car next season, he replied: “Better performance.
“I think it is very simple,” he continued. “We had our races where we were very close and very competitive, and overall our car this year has been more an all-round car which worked on all tracks. So we had our highlights and I think most of them we used.
“But then we had too many races where we were not quite there. Sometimes by a tenth or two but sometimes a bit more, where we were left with not much to do over a weekend. And that is something we must fix and try to control better going into next year.”
Asked about his highlight of the season, he admitted: “I would say Bahrain because initially I didn’t like it, but now I really love it.
“I loved the trophy after the race,” he added. “It was a tight battle after the last laps so it was good to hang onto the lead until the end.
“Then I think the other one that has to be mentioned is Canada, especially 40 years after Gilles with Ferrari. It was a very emotional day.
“It was a long year,” he concluded, “we had our ups and down. Most of us followed it very closely but we were able as a team to do another step. But still, the last step is missing to make sure that we have a word until the end of the championship and fight for it all the way, and not just for parts of the season.”