Sebastian Vettel took heart from Ferrari’s pace through the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend despite losing more ground on Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton, believing the Italian marque can have the upper hand through the final five races of the season.

Vettel started last in Malaysia after an engine issue in qualifying, but was able to fight his way back up to fourth place at the chequered flag.

Hamilton grabbed second place to extend his advantage to 34 points, but appeared to struggle for pace at a track Mercedes was expected to dominate at.

When asked if he thought Ferrari could beat Mercedes, Vettel said: “Yes. I think we are quicker.”

“Obviously a bit of a shame with Kimi [Raikkonen] starting in the front but not able to start the race, us starting in the back having to come from the back.

“It’s been a difficult weekend, but nevertheless, the speed is promising.”

Ferrari had a tough weekend in Malaysia that saw Vettel and team-mate Raikkonen suffer three engine failures collectively but the German is sure the team can get on top of its reliability woes.

“I think we have it under control. Obviously this weekend we did not,” Vettel said.

“It’s a shame that both of us compromised our weekend, me yesterday, Kimi today. I don’t know if it was the same issue, we need to have look.

“But for sure it’s not ideal if you retire one car yesterday and one today, so it’s something we need to obviously understand. So far we had a pretty good record this year for reliability.

“For sure you’re always on the edge, but if you speak to other people it’s the same. So not too worried to be honest, but we need to get on top of the problems that we have.”

 

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