Sebastian Vettel remains confident about Ferrari’s title aspirations, adding the team’s 2018 Formula 1 car still has “a lot of potential to unleash” in the second half of the season.

Significant gains over the winter have resulted in a renewed championship challenge from Ferrari this season, with the Scuderia keen to build on its progress from 2017 and claim a first F1 title of any description since 2008.

Vettel has led the way for much of the campaign but a costly error at his home race in Germany and a surprise defeat in Hungary has left the German trailing chief title rival Lewis Hamilton by 24 points at the summer break.

Shock Moments of F1 2018… So far

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But Vettel is convinced his team boasts the most competitive package on the grid and fired a warning shot to rivals Mercedes, claiming the Scuderia still has plenty of improvements in the pipeline.

“Last year, we lost the championship I think because our car wasn’t quick enough to be a match in the final part of the season, despite what happened with the DNFs,” Vettel said.

“I think this year has shown so far that our car is more efficient, our car is stronger and still has a lot of potential to unleash. I’m quite confident with what’s sitting in the pipeline that we can improve. So we’ll see. It should be an exciting second part of the year.”

Momentum has swung between Vettel and Hamilton on a race-by-race basis throughout the opening 12 rounds of the campaign, with a 32-point swing in Hamilton’s favour in the last two races alone drastically changing the championship picture with nine rounds to go.

Vettel insisted he is not letting his mistake while leading in Hockenheim affect him, having looked primed to extend an eight point lead over Hamilton until crashing out in damp conditions, ultimately enabling the Briton to profit.

“We had sometimes the pendulum swinging our way, sometimes not,” he explained. “From my point of view I think it's been fairly consistent. The one error that was very costly [in Germany] - that was quite small, because I wasn't even trying but went off.

“That's part of the game. I can't rewind the clock. It has happened. It obviously hurt us, but I'm quite confident that if we have the car to fight with, we can put them under pressure and make things happen in the second half.”

 

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