By John O’Brien
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari are their own worst enemy in the Formula One title race but is confident he can overhaul championship leader Lewis Hamilton in the seven remaining races if he and the team avoid making any major mistakes.
The 31-year-old German fell 30 points behind race-winner Hamilton after a collision with the Briton left him struggling to finish fourth in Monza last time out, one of several races where Vettel has frittered away a position of authority.
“I think my biggest enemy is me,” the quadruple world champion told reporters on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
“We have a great car and have all the chances to do it in our way. Obviously, Lewis is the leader, he’s ahead but we still have a very good chance and I feel it is still ours to lose.
“As long as we look after ourselves, we have a chance to win races and if we do that, then things look good.”
Vettel is the most successful driver in Singapore, having won four times around the floodlit Marina Bay Street Circuit since it entered Formula One in 2008, so the German is naturally delighted to be back at one of his favourite haunts.
“I like coming here, I like the track. It’s the toughest race we have all year, mentally and physically for various reasons. You never quite feel ready for it but are happy once it starts and I am looking forward to it,” he added.
“I am not saying this is my race to win but you cannot change what has happened in the past or know what’s to come so my full focus is on this race for now. Of course, if we are in a position to win then we want to win.”
Vettel also heaped praise on team mate Kimi Raikkonen, who has partnered the German since the start of 2015 but is heading to Sauber next year with Charles Leclerc moving in the opposite direction to Ferrari.
“Kimi has been my best team mate,” added Vettel, who has raced alongside Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull, Sebastien Bourdais and Vitantonio Liuzzi at Toro Rosso, and Nick Heidfeld for one race at BMW Sauber in 2007.
“Obviously you can do all the number crunching but for me that’s not the most important thing. For me, that is the respect you have for each other and the degree of bullshit going on between each other.
“With Kimi, it has been zero from the start and that will not change until the end. It’s a great chance for Charles but it will be sad to see that Kimi is not there anymore. We get along very well, despite being very different personalities.”
(Editing by Toby Davis)