Maurizio Arrivabene has told his Ferrari team it needs to “challenge the impossible” in the final four races as Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton close in on a championship double.
Hamilton has won four straight races and will guarantee the drivers’ title in Austin with another win and a Sebastian Vettel finish of third or lower. The constructors’ championship gap has also increased to 78 points, but Arrivabene says Ferrari needs to continue to fight while there remains a mathematical chance.
“It’s easy to be pragmatic,” Arrivabene told Sky Sports. “Saturday [at Suzuka] we had a problem that everyone knows about but as I said many times I was a bit disappointed, but we win and we lose together.
“I have to say concerning the race, the teams and the drivers reacted very well. We have circumstances during the race that impeded us from achieving the podium.
“I think at least the podium was in our hands and even if both of the cars were damaged, the car was going quite well.
“Now concerning the future races, I know the situation looks impossible but our job sometimes is to challenge the impossible and this is what we are going to do, we try to do for the future four races.”
Vettel was involved in contact with Max Verstappen during the Japanese Grand Prix that eventually limited him to sixth place. But the German insists he hasn’t taken more risks as the championship fight has become tougher to win.
“I’m not trying to do something silly when I’m out there,” Vettel said. “I think the gap was there and there’s not so many chances you get when you are close. Being that close as well through Spoon, I was quite sure that it would be difficult to stay there and try something on the back straight. So, I was fairly open minded when coming out of the hairpin.
“The tow that I had was very powerful and the gap was there. I was side-by-side. I think the problem was that as soon as he saw I was side by side, he opened the brakes, tried to push. But, I think that’s wrong because I don’t think he makes the corner either.
“He just looks at me but I think he should keep the overview of the track and we should both try and make the corner in the first place and then sort out who is inside, outside, first, second, whatever.”