Horror at home but Vettel upbeat

Sebastian Vettel admitted that he and his team felt like they had "let down" Ferrari's passionate tifosi by failing to win their home grand prix after locking out the front row of the grid in qualifying.
Sebastian Vettel admitted that he and his team felt like they had "let down" Ferrari's passionate tifosi by failing to win their home grand prix after locking out the front row of the grid in qualifying.PHOTO: AFP

German needs to be consistent in chasing Hamilton as Mercedes vow 'maximum attack'

MONZA (Italy) • A downcast Sebastian Vettel believes he can still bounce back to overhaul Lewis Hamilton in the Formula One World Championship title race - starting with the Singapore Grand Prix on Sept 16.

The four-time champion admitted that he and his team felt like they had "let down" Ferrari's passionate tifosi by failing to win their home grand prix after locking out the front row of the grid in qualifying.

However, the German was left assured by the way in which he recovered from his first-lap spin to finish fourth at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday despite racing in a damaged car.

The damage occurred after contact was made with the triumphant Hamilton's Mercedes as the championship leader went past him at the second chicane.

"It was unfortunate for us to get spun around and have a lot of damage, but it could have also been him that spins around and us carrying on," he said. "Given I was looking the wrong way after four corners, finishing in fourth with effectively the same strategy as everybody else is a decent recovery with the damage we had."

As to how he would claw back a deficit of 30 points, Vettel declared he was not worried by Hamilton's lead.

"We have the pace. The points sound a lot, but actually, it doesn't take a long time to get them down," he insisted.

 
 

But with seven races remaining and the Italian team clearly having a faster car, they have the time to recover if he can find the consistency needed - in temperament as well as performance - to match the Briton as they scrap it out to claim a fifth world title.

Singapore has been a happy hunting ground for Vettel, who has four wins there to Hamilton's three although the last came in 2015, his only victory at the Marina Bay Street Circuit (MBSC) in a Ferrari.

"It's a bit of a gap now. But it's nothing that we didn't do in the past. I know what to do... for sure, it's a disappointment right now, but very quickly I am turning the page and focusing on Singapore - I like the place and I am happy to go there," the German said.

Mercedes, however, have vowed to go full throttle with the MBSC first up in their sights.

"We will give it everything in Singapore and all the remaining races," team boss Toto Wolff told reporters on Sunday.

"We will turn the whole factories in Brixworth and Brackley upside down to extract performance and go to Singapore with the aim of doing our best.

"Whether that's good enough to win the race or not, I don't know yet, but the next seven races are going to be maximum attack."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2018, with the headline 'Horror at home but Vettel upbeat'. Print Edition | Subscribe