Sebastian Vettel believes that Ferrari was still too far away to win the world championship in 2018. The Maranello based team appeared to start the year as arguably the strongest outfit, winning the opening two races of the season.
While it held the advantage on the approach to the summer break, following the commencement of the second half of the year, its challenge fell away after a number of car upgrades failed to improve its pace and Vettel got involved in a number of on-track altercations.
“I think first of all it’s a nice position to be in to be able to fight for the championship,” said Vettel said at the FIA Gala in St Petersburg on Friday. “Obviously the years after my last championship haven’t been straightforward.
"I think it’s nice in the last two years to be back in a position we can fight for wins and also have a word to say for the championship. But I think if you look at the whole championship then we were still too far away,” he added.
“It was looking quite good and close up to halfway through, and maybe the races including Spa and Monza. After that I think we had a quite significant drop in performance which obviously made it quite difficult for us. Equally Lewis [Hamilton] together with Mercedes had a very strong sequence of races, scoring a lot of points, a lot of wins. Then the gap opened up quite quickly from that point onwards.”
Hamilton wrapped up his fifth world championship at the Mexican Grand Prix in October. Heading into the round, Hamilton held a massive lead of 70 points, but Vettel claims that he held on to his titles hopes until the very end.
"I think you always tend to believe and fight until the end so it was really Mexico when I realised it would be difficult, and then impossible once we crossed the line But until then I didn’t really follow the points that closely. I obviously knew that it wasn’t going in my favour.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing