Sebastian Vettel convinced Ferrari will return to winning ways, but admits he “can't make any promises about when” in the aftermath of his third place finish in the Scuderia's home Italian Grand Prix.
Vettel made a great start and challenged for the lead into the first corner, before settling in behind eventual race winner, Nico Rosberg.
However, as the race progressed, he was unable to maintain track position over Lewis Hamilton, slipping back to third at the chequered flag, 20.9s off Rosberg, and 5.9secs off Hamilton.
“We try and we are working very hard,” Vettel said. “They [Mercedes] are doing a very good job so you have to say well done to them and show them the respect for what they have achieved in the last couple of years but we are fighting.
“I'm sure we can comeback. I can't make any promises about when but I know that we will. We will keep it up and keep believing and I am sure we will succeed.”
ITALIAN GP RACE REPORT: Rosberg dominates to win as Hamilton fluffs start
Asked why he was unable to do more to keep Hamilton behind, Vettel replied: “He did one stop less, so obviously it was clear after our second stop he would be ahead of us and I think the problem was that he was too far ahead of us. Simple as that. I think we were slightly quicker on a fresher set of tyres, but not quick enough to really catch-up and in the end the gap was still fairly big.”
Hamilton blames 'inconsistent clutch' for poor start
Despite that, though, Vettel felt the result was positive: “We knew it would be tough against Mercedes and it has been tough. We didn't beat them. But nevertheless I think we did a great job. We pulled out our best and had a great race. We finished third and fourth, which was the optimum we could get. That is a lot to be proud about. Obviously the fans deserve nothing less than the top step and hopefully we can give it to them over the next few years.”
Quizzed further on his race, he added: “We had a really good start. I got a bit stuck – maybe I should have gone a bit to the left, I wasn't sure what Lewis was going to do. Then I decided to go in the middle of them and was side-by-side with Nico, but he did a good job braking for Turn 1. I was hoping he would go on the brakes a bit sooner, but he didn't and then I had another crack, another look into Turn 4, but I wasn't close enough to be honest.
“After that I think we had good pace but it was expected that they would be a bit quicker than us in race pace as well and I think you could see at the end, the result was fairly clear. Still I think it has been a mega day for Ferrari to get so much support. I think it felt even more than last year, which is great. Hopefully it all peaks next year – but still I can't complain. Two podiums at Monza with two times at the start with Ferrari is a great achievement. I am really happy and proud of that.
“But for sure you are always aiming for the top step and also to give the maximum support back. It has been incredible coming into the track and leaving the track, even late at night. They are just happy to wave with all the Ferrari kit and with the flags. It is great to see the passion in this country for Ferrari and to be part of that is great.
“But obviously our mission doesn't stop here. It is only the beginning. We want to win. That is what we really want and that is what the people deserve as well.”
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