Sebastian Vettel says "it would be stupid" to rule himself out of the championship battle at this stage of the season.

Mercedes has won all but one of the eight grands prix so far this season, with Daniel Ricciardo the only non-Mercedes driver to win a race. While Vettel sits fifth in the drivers' championship - 105 points behind Nico Rosberg - he says the goal still has to be to win the title while he has a mathematical chance.

"Our target is clear that we want to catch up and we want to make sure we beat them sooner rather than later," Vettel said. "Obviously the gap is very big so it's very difficult to close it within a short amount of time. I've never really stressed at any point of the season to focus too hard on the championship.

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"I'm really going race-to-race, trying to get the best out of myself and the car and nothing has really changed in that regard. If you look at points and mathematics we can still fight for the world championship so it would be stupid to say we're out and then if things change and you're back in; you take it.

"Realistically - as I said - the gap is very big. We have struggled to catch up in big steps with the races we had, but the goal is there for the whole team to progress and do a better job. For us, for Renault, for everyone involved we want to close the gap. Whether we'll succeed before the end of this year well have to wait and see."

And Vettel added that he still enjoys racing for any position because the primary focus is to exploit the full potential of the car at his disposal.

"In the end you race with what you have. Currently we don't have the car to win unless something out of the ordinary is happening because you have to say at the moment Mercedes is in a position to win every race. But it doesn't really matter because you still try to get the maximum out of your package.

"We had races where we succeeded this year, we had races where we didn't succeed, we had races where we had different problems ... so ultimately you just try to achieve your maximum and you're happy if you are and you're not happy if you don't."