Sebastian Vettel has said that he feels no fewer than seven drivers are still in contention for the F1 title going into the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend.
The defending champion heads into the event sitting fourth in the championship standings after his retirement in Valencia, with the Red Bull man sitting 26 points behind Fernando Alonso in the title race.
Vettel will hope to make up for the disappointment of his European Grand Prix retirement at Silverstone but the German insisted it was still wide open when it comes to the title fight.
“Seven,” he replied when asked on the official F1 website how many drivers were still in the fight for the title. “Everybody who has won a race is still a potential candidate for the championship.”
In an ominous warning to his rivals, Vettel added that he now felt more comfortable behind the wheel of his Red Bull after the team introduced new parts in Valencia.
“It is true that in Valencia I felt more comfortable than at any race before,” he said. “We definitely have been able to take a step forward, but then again in Valencia the right pieces fell into place - until the unfortunate retirement.”
Vettel wouldn't be drawn on who he sees as his main competitor for the Silverstone weekend and pointed to Alonso's victory in Spain as an indication that it only matters who is out front when the race comes to an end.
“I think that nobody is winning in Formula One without a reason,” he said. “In Valencia Fernando together with his team did the best job, as in the end it only matters to see the chequered flag. Whatever happens during the race might be nice and pleasant, but there is not much gain in it - it's the chequered flag that matters. When I saw him on the podium I thought: hats off. He didn't start from the very front, right, and then to win… it was a great race that he did.”