Ferrari has no more circuits to fear, says 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 more circuits to fear, says Vettel
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Podium: second place Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H

Although Toto Wolff tried to play down his team's tag as the favourite in the build-up to last weekend's race, the high-speed Spa-Francorchamps circuit was expected to suit the Mercedes 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.

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.

"I mean 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.

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

Vettel was on ultrasoft tyres to Hamilton's soft 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 teammate 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.

The Finn 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."

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