Sebastian Vettel feels that Ferrari is still “in a good way” despite being forced to retire from Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix due to an engine issue that did further damage to his Formula 1 title bid.
Vettel led the drivers’ championship up to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza four races ago, with retirements in Singapore and Japan plus an issue that forced him to start last in Malaysia allowing Lewis Hamilton to pull clear into a 59-point lead.
Vettel started second at Suzuka on Sunday, but was forced to park his car up after just two laps due to a faulty spark plug as Hamilton stormed to his eighth win of the year.
“I don’t know if this situation has much to do with reliability, but we didn’t finish the race, so there is a problem. I think it was a small issue causing a big one,” Vettel said.
“We didn’t have power already at the start and we tried to reset everything getting the power back, but something didn’t work.”
Ferrari is at risk of losing both the drivers’ and constructors’ championship at the United States Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, but Vettel still has confidence in the team.
“Of course, now the championship is more difficult and not finishing the race doesn’t help. I also said to the guys to get back home and have some rest because it’s been a tough week with a lot of changes,” Vettel said.
“Then we’ll come back with a better package to do well for the last four races and then we’ll see. Overall, I believe the team is in a good way.
“We are improving race by race and there are positive aspects too. But, of course, today you can’t look too much at positive things.”
Hamilton will be crowned champion in Austin if he outscores Vettel by 16 points, while Mercedes will win the constructors’ title so long as Ferrari does not outscore it by 17.