Formula One: Vettel vows Ferrari will return stronger

Mechanics work on the car of Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel in the pits. Vettel has vowed to return stronger after a disappointing race.
Copyright: AFP
Mechanics work on the car of Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel in the pits. Vettel has vowed to return stronger after a disappointing race. Copyright: AFPPHOTO: AFP

HOCKENHEIM (AFP) - Sebastian Vettel tried to reassure Ferrari's fans and his team after another disappointing race on Sunday when he finished fifth ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in his home German Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion, who argued with Ferrari pit-wall engineers and disobeyed an instruction to pit, said he is convinced that the Italian team knows what to do to mount a recovery.

Their poor result on Sunday enabled Red Bull, for whom Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen finished second and third, to overhaul them and take second place in the constructors' championship.

Vettel said it is "quite normal" to talk a lot during races, after he had replied telling the team: "Negative. I will stay out." He said: "It was a long discussion for many, many laps. We decided to stay out and it is my fault.

"I gave away the opportunity and I need to see if I can do better.

"We are not where we want to be and clearly there are a lot of things we need to do better. I'm trying to do what I can.

"The race pace was not bad, but not good enough. We struggled a bit with the balance and I was sliding about a bit too much."

Vettel is without a podium finish in four races and trails championship leader Lewis Hamilton by 97 points with nine races remaining after the annual European summer holiday break.

"The last couple of races have been tough for us, but very, very useful, as we understood a lot about our car and we know what to focus on," he added.

"It wasn't entirely clear after the first couple of races, but it became more and more evident. Obviously, it's a harsh way to find out, not being as competitive as we want to, but I think we know what to do.

"It's not easy to change overnight, but there is a plan and the second half should be stronger in that regard."