Vettel: We haven’t been strong enough this year

Sebastian Vettel has had over a month to deal with the disappointment of yet another Formula 1 World Championship defeat to Lewis Hamilton and the might of Mercedes, suggesting that Ferrari did not provide the firepower when it mattered during a trying season which promised so much but underdelivered for the Italian team.

Speaking after qualifying third for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Vettel said of the future in the wake of the title defeat, “I think we know where we want to go. A lot of work ahead of us, I think a lot of lessons to be learned again this year. Ultimately, I think we have 21 races, with the 21st coming tomorrow and in summary, we haven’t been strong enough this year to take the challenge until the last race, the last lap.”

“I think we need to look at ourselves. I think we have the people, we have the resources so it’s more getting the maximum out of our package, improving the work inside our team and making sure that we come up with a stronger package, a stronger team for the future.”

Vettel acknowledged that Mercedes were mighty because of the teamwork and backing Hamilton with Bottas as wingman to maximum effect.

The Ferrari driver added, “I think mentioning the word teamwork, I think that’s what it’s about. Obviously what you look at in terms of when you look in qualifying or the race, then obviously we are the ones driving the car and we are alone driving the car and when we cross the line you look at us first but there’s a lot of people behind to make sure that you do cross the line and if they do their job really really well and work together then you have a high chance of finishing higher up.”

“So I think it’s needless to say that Lewis had an incredible run the last five years but I think since the day he joined Formula 1 until now – it’s the fifth consecutive front-row lock-out for Mercedes here – it also proves that they’re doing a really good job as a team. I think for us, it’s not that easy because the challenge to beat such a strong team is difficult but that’s our target,” asserted Vettel.