Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari’s Mercedes is “very close to perfection” with the way it operates in order to get the most out of its car – a quality that led to another constructors’ championship this season.
Valtteri Bottas’ victory in the Japanese Grand Prix ensured Mercedes will become the first team to win six consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championship doubles, with only the Finn able to mathematically catch team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Vettel split the pair at Suzuka and Ferrari has been a major challenger since the summer break, but the four-time world champion says Mercedes’ consistently high level is something his team needs to aspire to.
“It’s very difficult,” he said. “Obviously you can’t see what they are doing, but I think from the outside they are very close to perfection every time they go out on track, so very consistent, very little mistakes. That’s certainly also part of what makes them so strong, but if you clinch the Constructors’ title with four races to go, there’s a lot of things you do better than all the others.
“If you go into detail then you can argue what their car is maybe doing better than ours, but I don’t think that’s the point overall, it’s a team effort. And as I said, I think we do have the ingredients, we do have the commitment, we do have the intelligence, but we just need to do it better.
“It’s a lot of small things; it’s not one thing that we need to improve, it’s a lot of small things that we need to do better, every single one of us. And that’s the only way that we can try and step up. Hopefully they get a bit bored! We will see what happens.”
Although Ferrari has secured pole position at every race since the summer break – including front-row lock-outs at each of the last two – Vettel said back-to-back Mercedes wins prove that the Scuderia is still lacking outright performance.
“There’s still room for improvement,” he said. “It doesn’t start in Mexico – next year; next year starts next year, so whatever we can learn this year, (we need to). I think we’ve learned a lot about our car, the weaknesses, we’ve improved it, but we’re still not there so… We’ve had a strong couple of races, but overall I think we’re still a little bit behind.”