Ferrari has no circuits to fear in 2017 F1 title race now - Vettel

Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari has no circuits to fear over the remainder of the 2017 season after challenging Mercedes in the Belgian Grand Prix

Ferrari has no circuits to fear in 2017 F1 title race now - Vettel

Although Toto Wolff tried to play down Mercedes' tag as the favourite in the build-up to last weekend's race, the high-speed Spa-Francorchamps circuit was expected to suit the W08 in similar fashion to Silverstone, where Mercedes dominated.

Lewis Hamilton won from pole position at Spa to cut Vettel's advantage to seven points in the title race, but Vettel beat the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas to second on the grid and ran within a couple of seconds of Hamilton for almost the entire grand prix.

GP ANALYSIS: Ferrari was the real winner at Spa

Vettel could not make the most of his one opportunity to attack Hamilton, after the safety car in the second half of the race, but said "the positive thing is that we had very good race pace".

"Overall the car was very good," he added.

"We didn't change too much compared to Silverstone, which shows on the one hand that Silverstone was just a bad weekend, but we improved also the car, especially in race pace.

"We were, on average, a second off, or nearly a second off in Silverstone, so it's a big step.

"I'm very, very happy.

"We are on the right track and I don't think we have a circuit we should fear, going from now."

Vettel was on ultra-soft tyres to Hamilton's softs for the eight-lap sprint the safety car set up, but Hamilton held on at the restart and then eased clear over the remainder of the race.

"It's normal, as a racer you always look at what you could have done better," said Vettel.

"But you also need to appreciate the fact that it was a very, very good weekend for us, all the way.

"Both cars very quick, competitive and closer than I think one could expect before the race."

Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had performed strongly through the trio of free practice sessions, but was hampered by "vibrations" in qualifying that left him fourth on the grid.

Raikkonen had to serve a "pointless" 10-second stop-go penalty in the race for failing to slow under yellow flags, but still recovered to fourth.

He admitted "it feels like we're not up there in the straight line" against Mercedes, but agreed with Vettel that Ferrari's performance at Spa boded well.

"We have to do what we feel is the fastest for us," said Raikkonen.

"We're also [trying] to improve in more areas, not just the engine, it's a combination of things to go fastest.

"I think people expected that it would easily be a Mercedes circuit but it wasn't so easy for them, so we're doing the right things."

shares
comments
Belgian Grand Prix driver ratings

Previous article

Belgian Grand Prix driver ratings

Next article

Jos Verstappen: Max starting to doubt Red Bull-Renault F1 team

Jos Verstappen: Max starting to doubt Red Bull-Renault F1 team
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021