Sebastian Vettel says it is not fair to say Ferrari has thrown away this year’s drivers’ championship, but concedes that the team needs to look at itself to understand why it has fallen so far behind.
Lewis Hamilton will win the title if he finishes seventh or higher in this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, with Vettel needing to win to stand any chance of taking the fight to the following race in Brazil. After having led the drivers’ championship following the British Grand Prix in July, Vettel has since fallen away due to a combination of driver errors and Ferrari struggling with upgrades, but says the current situation is a case of Hamilton winning the championship rather than Ferrari throwing it away.
“I think you should always look at it as a championship won by the driver who scores more points than anyone else,” Vettel said. “It is not fair [to see it differently], arriving here with a deficit in points we have. Surely we could have had more, but in the end of the day you need to ask yourself if you have always been in the position to get the result that you needed and you wanted.
“We had races where we were very competitive and we had races where we were not, so I think in the end of the season you look at the points you have, you add them up, and then you know yourself first what has been missing or not.”
In Austin, Vettel said it was good that Ferrari has worked out where its upgrades failed after reverting to an older specification of car, but bad that the team got the developments wrong in the first place. The German says investigations are still ongoing, but he doesn’t want Ferrari to linger too long on what went wrong, and thinks the team should instead focus on improving.
“I think we need to look forward,” insisted. “It is important that we are starting to understand what didn’t work or was not as good as before. I think it was important to go a step back to understand some things. But the main thing is we keep moving forward. The last couple of days have been quite important, the last weeks also, and we have started to understand a bit more so we try to move forward.
“The cars are very complex, so it is not that easy. If it was easy, then everybody would always get everything right. As a matter of fact, no-one does.
“It is not always easy to understand everything straight away, so as I said, the last weeks and the last days we have been very busy, and it is important we had the laps that we got in Austin, starting to understand what is going on. We haven’t yet understood everything, which I think is normal, so there is still a lot of work to do.”