Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel has hit out at his Mercedes rivals for ‘over-exaggerating’ the Maranello team’s car this season. Ferrari did seem the quickest during the first half of the campaign and Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff often spoke of Mercedes’ inferiority. However, Hamilton leads Vettel by 50 points in the Drivers’ Championship with just five races to go heading into the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.
And the German believes his vehicle is on par with the Silver Arrows, despite what his rivals may think: “I think it’s always been very close,” said Vettel. “I think the other side has been very good at communicating that they had an inferior car, but I don’t think that was the case.”
Sebastian Vettel was over half a second slower than Hamilton during Russian Grand Prix practice and qualifying last weekend, but the four-time world champion is not too concerned with the overall pace of his car: “It’s not nice to have a gap like that. But I think I have been way more realistic about the gaps in general and the performance between the cars. I know we have a great car and I’m not doubting that, but I believe their car is very strong too and has been very strong. I think it has been a reasonable match and there have been qualifying sessions where we had the upper hand by a tiny bit and they had the upper hand by a little bit. But sometimes also a bit more like in Russia or France or other races. We have a good car and we need to keep improving it.” – the German driver added.
Vettel had a glimmer of hope of winning in Sochi when Hamilton came out of the pits behind him, but the Brit quickly regained his position after a close encounter heading into turn two: “I didn’t want to be a complete a*** by pushing him into the dirt and potentially into the wall. So I wasn’t quite sure where he was and then at some point I had to give in. I thought I could maybe get it back out of Turn 4 but I had to give him the entrance, otherwise at some stage it just becomes silly. I wasn’t happy when I lost the position.” – Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel concluded.