Ferrari CEO and chairman Sergio Marchionne believes that Sebastian Vettel has "matured a lot" in the last year, bouncing back from a difficult 2016 campaign to spearhead the Italian marque's Formula 1 title bid.

Ferrari announced at the end of last month that Vettel had signed a new three-year deal at Maranello, having claimed four wins so far this season to sit three points back from Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' championship with seven rounds remaining.

Vettel was rumoured to be chasing a one-year extension to the end of 2018 in order to angle for a Mercedes seat in 2019, but Marchionne denied a short-term deal was ever considered.

"If he did ask for a year, I'm unaware of it. The only thing we ever talked about was whether it was a two or three-year deal," Marchionne told Sky Sports.

"I think he's happy here. I made that comment in the past. I told him he was free to sign up any time he wanted to.

"I like Seb a lot. I think he's matured a lot even though he's a world champion multiple times over. I think he's matured a lot in the last year.

"He's a Ferrari man. Those things you don't get out of your blood."

Vettel rejected suggestions of team orders being used at Ferrari when asked about the dynamic with teammate Kimi Raikkonen at Monza last weekend, and Marchionne backed the German up, denying he has ever asked for special privileges.

"No. I think we compensate him well for what he does," Marchionne said.

"I've always complimented him on his ability to strike a good economic bargain. But it's true of most drivers of that calibre. I'm envious!"


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