Sebastian Vettel hopes this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka International Racing Course is a much more competitive one for Scuderia Ferrari than the Russian Grand Prix was last weekend, with the German having fallen fifty-points behind Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship with just five races remaining.
Vettel finished third at the Sochi Autodrom behind Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas but feels Ferrari do still have a strong car and he believes he should be close enough to the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport duo to enjoy a good fight with them for victory in Japan.
“It has been only a few days since the last race in Sochi, so we hope that the track here suits us better and we can have a better weekend than in Russia,” said Vettel. “We have a strong car, but not a dominant one.
“There were races from our side where we weren’t close enough and where we didn’t have the pace the others had. However, during most of the races we have been close enough to have a good fight.”
Vettel says Suzuka is his favourite track on the calendar and he is focused on enjoying the weekend as best he can, and particularly focusing on what is currently working well for him.
“I’m very happy to be here and I love this track, it’s my favourite circuit in the world, so I just want to enjoy it and focus on the things that are working well for me,” said the German.
“We made some progress with our car, but you never know where you are in comparison to the others; maybe they have done smaller steps or bigger steps, but I’m pretty sure, from speaking to all our engineers, that we are pretty much where we would like to be or where we wanted to be.
“Of course, you would always like to have more performance, but that’s the same for everyone.”
Vettel says he has no qualms about the weather should the weekend be wet, with the German feeling Ferrari should be strong regardless of whether it rains or not.
“As for the weather, since it may be raining this weekend, I think we have nothing to worry about in wet conditions,” said Vettel. “The rain didn’t play into our hands but it won’t be like that forever, so I’m not afraid if it’s wet before Sunday.”