F1: Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) Sebastian Vettel says, “we made it too easy” for MercedesAMG
Ferrari’s (NYSE:RACE) Sebastian Vettel has dropped from leading the Championship race to trailing Lewis Hamilton by 67 points in just 7 Grands Prix, with his rival winning 6 of those races and currently enjoying a 4-race victory streak.
Mr. Hamilton can now seal the title at this weekend’s Grand Prix in the United States after Mr. Vettel hit Max Verstappen and spun in Japan, which saw him finish in 6th place.
When asked about the title being nearly over, Mr. Vettel said: “You say nearly.
“Obviously there is still a chance, the last couple of races we made it a bit too easy for them.
“But also credit to them, they executed well. That is the name of the game.
“We need to look after ourselves and do our bit for the next couple of races, and then we see.
“Surely it didn’t help when we finished 6th and they won the race.
MercedesAMG has enjoyed a qualifying advantage over Ferrari at the last 3 races, although Mr. Vettel has been more competitive in race trim.
But, Ferrari’s flawed strategy in Singapore cost him 2nd there and he was not quite on terms with MercedesAMG in Russia.
In Japan, Ferrari’s tire choice error and Mr. Vettel’s mistake in qualifying set the tone for an off race at Suzuka.
Mr. Vettel feels he could have fought “at least one” of the MercedesAMG after battling from eighth to 4th on the opening lap, before undoing that work by colliding with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and dropping to last.
“It is very difficult to pass around here and follow up the hill, and with the fast corners that we have, but I thought that I could play with the car and make the tyres last reasonably well,” said Mr. Vettel.
“Obviously then we never know, because I had damage and in traffic and so on, but I was happy from my point of view with what I had in the race.”
Ferrari’s decline in performance has been stark, as it had emerged from F1’s Summer break with its pace advantage over MercedesAMG from 1-H of the season still intact.
Mr. Vettel said he had no explanation for Ferrari’s recent struggles.
“It has always been very close,” he said.
“I think the last races we were not as strong and I think the fact that we were better in the race was also due to the fact that they did not have to push, so you will never get the full picture.”
Following his Japanese GP win at Suzuka last weekend, Mr. Hamilton defended his rival over criticism of his recent errors.
“I feel the media need to show a little more respect for Sebastian,” Mr. Hamilton wrote on Instagram.
“You simply cannot imagine how hard it is to do what we do at our level, for any athlete at the top of their game that is.
“It is to be expected that being humans we will make mistakes but it is how we get through them that counts.”