After falling further behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton in the driver's standings following the Singapore Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel says that he must now aim to win the final six races of the season in order to win the 2018 title.
Vettel crossed the line in Singapore in third place, while Hamilton went on to take his seventh win of the season. The gap between the two now reads 40 points, and Vettel admits that he has to up his form in order to claim his fifth world championship.
"Obviously it’s not great when you come to the end of the championship and you’re losing points rather than making up points, but we still have a lot of races left and some time to go,” said Vettel. “I think it’s pretty straight forward that if we win every race from now, we’re safe. So that’s what we need to aim for.”
Vettel overtook Max Verstappen at the start of the race for second place, but lost that position again after Ferrari made a strategic error. The Maranello outfit called Vettel in for his first pit stop early, which saw him rejoin the circuit behind the Force India of Sergio Perez.
Vettel failed to get by Perez quickly, which allowed Verstappen to pump in fast lap times while running in clean air. After the Dutchman made his stop, he rejoined the circuit in second place ahead of Vettel - where he would stay for the remainder of the race.
“It wasn’t looking too bad,” reflected Vettel. “We had a good first lap and we tried something – being aggressive – and it didn’t work and we ended up finishing third. So finishing where we started. Once we lost that second place, it’s clear that we just need to try and figure out how to make it to the end with those tyres – 45 laps or so. It was a long way.
“Looking back, there’s something we missed. But at the time I guess it felt like the right thing to do. We went for it, we tried, but it didn’t work. If it works, then it’s great. It didn’t work, it’s not great. Simple as that,” he concluded.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing