Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari must prove itself in the remaining races of the 2018 Formula 1 season, following a series of disappointing results.

A disastrous weekend in Japan all but ended Ferrari’s and Vettel’s championship hopes despite appearing to hold the advantage over rivals Mercedes for much of the campaign.

But a series of driver and team errors have enabled Lewis Hamilton to capitalise and record six wins from the last seven races, meaning he could claim a fifth world title at the next race in the United States in less than two weeks’ time.

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A tyre blunder from Ferrari in qualifying resulted in Vettel starting Sunday’s race from eighth on the Suzuka grid, before he clashed with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and ended up finishing a distant sixth.

"I think we have great potential in this team," Vettel insisted.

"Obviously the last weeks have been tough for us. Overall though I think we could be in a better place. We are not. So that happened for a reason.

"But we look forward, and even if the last weeks have been difficult, the spirit inside the team, if you look at the guys and so on, it is incredible how powerful they are, how strong they are, how positive they are throughout.

"That made this team always very strong and will make this team strong in the next race and in the future. We know that we still have a lot of potential to unleash and we need to work and dig a little bit deeper and so on.

"But for now obviously, we want to prove the last races are not what we can deliver.”

Meanwhile Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene - who reacted furiously to the Scuderia’s qualifying mistake in Japan - has called on his squad to “challenge the impossible” with its title hopes seemingly hanging by a thread.



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