Sebastian Vettel feels both obvious and ‘hidden’ lessons have been understood by Ferrari after its 2017 Formula 1 world title charge and has faith the Italian manufacturer can pose a consistent challenge next season.

During winter testing Ferrari surprised the F1 world with the fastest car on the grid which was duly demonstrated by winning two of the opening three races. Vettel accepts Ferrari’s dreadful Asian flyaway races – with two DNFs and a fourth place for the German driver – ultimately ended his title ambition but was keen to focus on positives at the end of the season.

Vettel has hinted at the less clear lessons to be taken from Ferrari’s 2017 campaign, aside from combining its speed with consistency, which he wants to use as motivation for the whole team for a championship fight next season.

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“Obviously we had two or three races that turned out to be very costly for different reasons and Mercedes have been very, very strong and consistent all year,” Vettel said. “In the end we weren’t good enough to take it to the last race and take the championship.

“I think we know what we need to do. There are lessons that were obvious, some were a bit more hidden but I’m sure we’ll dig deep enough and try to find all of them.

“If you look where we were in 2016, I think we did the biggest step out of all and from winter testing we were right there. Historically we lost out as the season progressed but this year we still had so much potential, so many big steps, but we managed to do them and stay in the fight.”

Vettel’s 2017 points haul was his third-highest career total for a season – beating his point tally from his title-winning years in 2010 and 2012 – while he equalled the same number of race wins (five) as those title years at Red Bull.