Sebastian Vettel says he has had his mood recharged by Ferrari’s team spirit after recent disappointing results, rather than being the one to rally the team himself.
Ferrari attempted an aggressive strategy when Vettel was running in second place during the Singapore Grand Prix but the move backfired and he ended up finishing third while Lewis Hamilton extended his championship lead. That followed a disappointing result in Monza, but Vettel said he is not the one who has been having to keep the team motivated.
“I think it’s pretty much the opposite,” Vettel said. “Obviously some races didn’t go the way we wanted to, the way I wanted to. All the guys in the team… it’s late in the year, everybody has had a very tough season, but to be honest it was very uplifting to come back in the garage – even after disappointing races and results – and see everybody’s extremely motivated and saying nice things and meaning it, to me.
“This really helped me to overcome these sort of races, and also the energy I got from the outside, from fans and supporters, in Singapore before the race, after the race, and also here, little messages – it’s really nice to receive positive news in times where most of what you expect is probably negative.
“But I don’t think that has been the problem, so I didn’t really have to go in there and tell them to keep their head up. If anything, it’s been the other way around, and they’ve done well.”
The championship is still in play for Vettel – victory in the final six races would guarantee him the title despite Hamilton’s current 40-point margin – but the German says he won’t get distracted by the bigger picture, and is focusing solely on success in Russia.
“We have a fair chance,” he said. “We had races in the past that we should’ve won, we didn’t. And we had others that we won when we shouldn’t have. So you never know what happens, but anything is possible.
“I’m not aiming to win all six races. First of all, I’m aiming to win here, then once that’s done we go to the next one, and we go to the next one [after that]. I don’t think there’s much point looking five, six races ahead. I think you’re much better off staying in the moment at what lies in front of you, and right now that’s FP1.