Ferrari needs 'last step' for year-long F1 title tilt - Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel says he and Ferrari need to take “the last step” in 2019 and sustain a year-long challenge for the Formula 1 title.
Vettel and Ferrari challenged for overall honours in 2017 and 2018 but in both seasons its bid collapsed amid a sequence of mistakes and setbacks, accentuated by car development.
Vettel trailed Lewis Hamilton by just 14 points after triumphing at the Belgian Grand Prix but did not win again as the Mercedes driver wrapped up the title with two races to spare, finishing with an 88-point buffer.
It marked the fifth straight year in which a Mercedes driver had secured the crown, with Nico Rosberg (2016) interrupting Hamilton’s sequence of championships.
“I think it was a long year, we had our ups and downs,” Vettel said ahead of the FIA Gala in Russia.
“We were able as a team to do another step but there’s still the last step missing to make sure we have a word until the end of the championship, to fight for it all the way, and not just through parts of the season.”
When asked what he needs to sustain such a challenge in 2019, Vettel replied: “Better performance.
“I think it’s very simple, obviously we had our races where we were very close and very competitive.
“Overall our car this year has been more sort of [an] all-round car which worked more or less on all the tracks, but I think we had our highlights, I think most of them we used.
“But then [there were] too many races [where] we were not quite there, sometimes by maybe a tenth or two or sometimes also for a bit more, where we were left with not much to do during the weekend.
“That obviously is something we must fix and try and control better going into next year.”