Sebastian Vettel insists he is not in the worst period of his Formula 1 career – but admits his recent results are “not great” and he is keen to turn around his form.
Vettel arrives in Singapore for a race he has won four times – a record he shares with Lewis Hamilton – with fresh questions around his competitiveness after back-to-back wins for Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc.
The contrast between the pair a fortnight ago at Monza, Ferrari’s home event, was particularly stark. Leclerc won the race in spite of immense pressure from the Mercedes drivers and Vettel finished 13th, after an early spin and subsequent penalty. The error was the latest in a series of mistakes from the four-time world champion over the past two seasons.
Asked on Thursday what moment of his career he was currently experiencing, a smiling Vettel replied: “One with many questions!
“I don’t remember all my career, it’s quite a while that I’ve been around. Certainly not the best one [moment] right now, but also it’s not the worst one.
“I still love racing and there are a lot of races this year to hopefully get in a better position and finish the season in a way that we want and then prepare for the next one.”
Vettel added: “I don’t compare it. I take it as what it is.
“Obviously it’s not great, but ultimately it’s not a disaster either. One moment can change the whole race and in that race [at Monza] it did. I was the first one to admit the mistake after the race, it was very clear. Unfortunately, these things are part of us and part of racing.”
Leclerc has now moved ahead of Vettel in the Drivers’ Championship and has not been outqualified by his senior team-mate since June.
Vettel believes he is going about things the right way but says he has not yet completely got on top of Ferrari’s car.
“I don’t think it’s mental. It’s not that I’m in the wrong place,” insisted Vettel.
“I’m doing the right things and that’s why I think it’s crucial not to overcomplicate things too much. I guess here and there I might not have the absolute trust in the car and not the best feeling yet, but it’s improving the understanding of the car.