Sebastian Vettel said he is “not so sure” about Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton's “tricks” comments regarding Ferrari’s car, but stressed he is keeping his head down and staying focused on the championship battle at hand.
Vettel took a dominant win in Belgium last weekend to cut the gap to Hamilton in the drivers’ standings down to 17 points, with his Mercedes rival saying after the race that Ferrari had “a few trick things going on in the car.”
Hamilton later clarified that he was not questioning the legality of the Ferrari car, but Vettel seemed unconvinced when asked for his view on the comments ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
“I think he said in the press conference something with tricks, but I think he said many times he doesn’t want it to be interpreted in the wrong way,” Vettel said.
“I think maybe it did, so I am not quite so sure.”
Vettel stressed he was not dwelling on Hamilton’s comments or any suggestions Ferrari’s car is outside of the regulations, instead choosing to keep his head down and stay focused on the title fight.
“For all of us, in terms of is the car is legal or not, the FIA is responsible for it and we have several checks throughout the weekend to prove that,” Vettel said.
“So as long as I don’t hear anything from that front then I think it’s fine, same for the others.
“As I said, maybe it’s more of a question for him, and for us it’s to keep our head down.
“If there’s something like momentum then to use that momentum to make sure we go forward.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said after last Sunday’s race at Spa that the team had “many deficits” to Ferrari, including an engine power disadvantage.
After seeing Mercedes lead the way with its power unit since the introduction of the new V6 hybrid regulations in 2014, Vettel said it he found it “quite nice” Ferrari was now regarded as the benchmark.
“I think people forget that for the last five years Mercedes has been absolutely dominant, especially in terms of power unit,” Vettel said.
“Obviously it’s nice for them to put us in that position, as it means they believe they’re not the strongest anymore, so it’s good to be up there with them and be a match.
“I don’t think we can take anything for granted. I don’t think we are anywhere near the place they have been for the last years.
“We have to work hard to make things happen and we are determined to work hard this weekend to put ourselves hopefully in the same position again that we have a great pace in the weekend, especially on the race on Sunday.”