Ferrari set to ‘unleash’ after break
SEBASTIAN Vettel says Ferrari still have plenty of "potential to unleash" in their bid to wrestle back the championship advantage from Mercedes after summer break.
As F1 prepares to down tools for four weeks, Vettel trails title rival Lewis Hamilton by 24 points after the Mercedes driver's back-to-back wins in Germany and Hungary.
Although Ferrari boasted the faster car for both events, a crash for Vettel in Germany enabled Hamilton to snatch victory before a thunderstorm for qualifying at Budapest wiped out Ferrari's speed advantage.
But Vettel is confident Ferrari, just 10 points behind Mercedes in the Constructors' Championship, can hit back when the season resumes in Belgium at the end of August.
"This year has shown so far that our car is more efficient, our car is stronger and still has a lot of potential to unleash," Vettel said.
"So I'm quite confident with what's sitting in the pipeline that we can improve."
After the race in Hungary, Hamilton said Mercedes held the lead of the title race because, even if Ferrari had the quicker car, the Silver Arrows had "operated better and been better on strategy".
But after being swept aside by the Mercedes juggernaut immediately after the summer break 12 months ago when the Merc was simply too quick and too reliable for the 2017 Ferrari, Vettel is pinning his hopes of landing a fifth title ahead of Hamilton on the speed superiority of this year's Ferrari.
"Compared to last year, we lost the championship I think because our car wasn't quick enough to be a match in the final part of the season," he said.
"I am happy to see that the car is fast, it has worked well on every track so far, so I think this is the most important thing. Our car has a big potential, so I feel relaxed, going on holiday, for the races to come."
Speaking to Sky F1, Vettel added: "l am confident that if we have a car to fight with we can put them under pressure and make things happen in the second half."