Vettel denies Ferrari have lost their way as Hamilton closes in on title | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 04.10.2018
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Vettel denies Ferrari have lost their way as Hamilton closes in on title

He's 50 points behind Lewis Hamilton with five races to go but Sebastian Vettel is adamant Ferrari have not 'lost direction' this season. The German driver sounded defiant ahead of Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

Vettel has been powerless to stop Hamilton opening up the big gap, with the British driver set to win a fifth world title, and fourth in the last five seasons.

But despite the dominance of Hamilton and his Mercedes team, Vettel insists Ferrari, who haven't won a Constructors' Championship for a decade, are not falling behind.

"We haven't lost direction," Vettel, 31, said on Thursday ahead of the race at Suzuka. "We have made progress - the steps that were planned were the steps that came. Maybe they have made bigger or smaller steps, but we are where we wanted to be.

"We have a strong car, but I don't think that we had a dominant car at any point this year. At too many races, we haven't been close enough."

That was certainly the case at the Russian Grand Prix last weekend, where Vettel trailed both Hamilton and his teammate Valtteri Bottas. Despite the points gap to Hamilton, Vettel dismissed suggestions that Sunday's race could be his last chance of the season.

"I don't like the now or never approach," the German driver said. "I don't think there's much sense in that. I didn't know it was five out of six," he added, referring to Hamilton's run of victories.

"Now I know, so the secret has been not to count. You attack every weekend -- every weekend is different, the track is different, the circumstances are different.

He added: "This is my favourite track in the world, so I'd better enjoy it and not spoil it by starting to count the things that are against me."

Despite Vettel's fondness for the circuit, Hamilton has won three of the last four races at Suzuka. Another one on Sunday and even Vettel may be forced to concede defeat.

mp/mm (AFP,AP)

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