Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel says he is still optimistic for the title with five races to go after finishing fourth at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The German was the only Ferrari on the grid, following Kimi Raikkonen‘s non-start after an technical issue. Vettel, who started in last place, climbed his way through the field and into the points. Towards the dying moments of the race, Vettel closed down Red Bull Racing‘s Daniel Ricciardo for the final podium spot but couldn’t find a way pass and settled for fourth place.
Despite his efforts coming from the back to a fourth place finish, Vettel was caught in a controversial incident involving Williams Martini Racing‘s Lance Stroll during the cool down lap. With the Ferrari’s left rear wheel colliding with Stroll’s front wheel, causing Vettel’s rear suspension to break. The Stewards investigated the incident after the race but cleared both parties from any wrongdoing.
After a mixed weekend for Vettel, he remains optimistic over his title hopes, after showing the pace the Ferrari is capable off.
“I am still optimistic, because we know that we have a quick car.” said Vettel.
“Of course it was a shame for Kimi who couldn’t take the start, and for me having to begin my race from the back of the grid. We tried to fight for the podium, pushed very hard, but in the end the tires were starting to give up and we couldn’t be really there.”
Both Ferrari’s endured trouble on both Saturday and Sunday with engine related issues affecting both Vettel and Raikkonen’s weekend. Vettel says that Ferrari still need to look at over the issues that occurred at the Sepang International Circuit.
“It is promising to see the car is good, even if both Kimi and I hit trouble this weekend. I don’t know yet if the issue is the same on both cars, we’ll need to have a look.”
“For sure it’s not ideal having one car out yesterday and another one today. So, there’s something we need to understand. It’s been a difficult weekend, but nevertheless the speed is there.”
This was the first weekend Ferrari have encountered issues on both cars, despite their decent record with reliability over the season but Vettel insisted that he isn’t worried.
“So far we’ve had a pretty good record for this year regarding reliability. I am not that worried to be honest, but we need to get on top of the problem.”