Sebastian Vettel wants to shake off Ferrari's underdog tag

Sebastian Vettel is determined to shake off the tag of 'underdog' in the future off the back of a positive debut Formula 1 season with Ferrari.

The four-time F1 champion has enjoyed a solid campaign with the Scuderia, claiming three victories and nine other podium finishes.

Ferrari hopes to make engine and chassis gains over the winter that will allow it to pose an even stronger threat in 2016 to the dominance of Mercedes.

Asked by Autosport whether he had enjoyed being the underdog this year, Vettel played down the moniker, but respected the fact Ferrari is not quite yet at Mercedes' level.

"I don't consider myself the underdog," said Vettel.

"I know we're not the favourites, but I think we have shown since the beginning of the season we're not somewhere in the midfield.

"If we get our act together then we have a reasonable chance of finishing on the podium and winning races, and that is what we have achieved so far.

"Overall, this season is very different to last year [when he was with Red Bull]. Obviously it's a completely new situation for me with a new team.

"Joining Ferrari has been a great experience so far, but we also know where we want to be in the future.

"So there is a lot of work still ahead of us, and certainly we will be a lot happier if people don't call us the underdog, but favourite in the future."

Prior to the race in Mexico, Vettel was in a healthy position to finish second in the championship, splitting newly-crowned three-time champion Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the standings.

But after crashing out at Mexico City, Vettel now trails Rosberg by 21 points with just two races remaining in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

He added: "This season we have surprised a lot of people and surely exceeded our expectations as well.

"All in all it has been very positive so far and second place is the target.

"First, unfortunately, is out of reach and second is surely better than third, so we'll try to go for second."

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