Sebastian Vettel believes the Singapore Grand Prix was the turning point in the drivers’ championship battle with Lewis Hamilton after the Briton sealed the title in Mexico on Sunday.
Vettel crashed out of the lead of his home race in Germany and then spun when fighting with Hamilton on the opening lap in Monza, but wouldn’t single out either event as being crucial in the championship battle. For the four-time world champion, the title started slipping away once Ferrari struggled for pace following the end of the European season.
“For me it was more Singapore,” Vettel said. “I think from Singapore onwards we just didn’t have the pace to keep up with Mercedes for a couple of races, and then obviously some other things happened on top that didn’t help and we couldn’t score the points due to mistakes that we did, mistakes that I did. So it didn’t help.
“I can’t be too hard on myself with what happened in Germany because … I’ve done much bigger mistakes this year, but obviously it was the most costly one. Unfortunately it’s part of racing: when you push you might be sometimes pushing a little bit too hard. I chose the wrong corner as well.
“But anyway, it’s behind me and I’m not really thinking about that too much. I consider it part of racing, and it happens to others as well. But seeing that we struggled in the last couple of weeks just for pace and speed was probably more defining than that.”
Vettel is still confident of ending the season on a high after Kimi Raikkonen won in Austin and then both Ferraris finished on the podium in Mexico with the constructors’ championship still up for grabs.
“I think in two weeks time we have the possibility to show once again what we can do, and obviously we race for the team and as long we keep on catching [Mercedes], that’s good,” he said. “We need some more points but I think last weekend was good for us, this weekend was good for us – so hopefully we can continue the last two races like that.”