Sebastian Vettel concedes losing Ferrari’s slender performance edge over Mercedes after the summer break took too long to rectify and feels its where he’s lost out in the Formula 1 world title fight if Lewis Hamilton is to clinch the 2018 crown.

Despite being able to restrain Hamilton from sealing the 2018 F1 world championship at the United States Grand Prix, the gap grew to 70 points with a maximum of 75 points left to score.

Vettel was forced into another recovery driver after spinning following a clash with Daniel Ricciardo but managed to take fourth place with Hamilton only able to take third. It effectively means Vettel must win all three remaining races and hope Hamilton scores fewer than five points in that same period to pull off an unlikely F1 title turnaround.

The Ferrari driver accepts the ground lost after the summer break, when Hamilton won four consecutive races between Italy and Japan, is set to prove pivotal when his team struggled with undetected performance issues from upgrades.

“It took too long,” Vettel replied when asked if it was nice to get a quick car back at Circuit of the Americas. “You can see it’s good news but you can also see it’s bad news.

“If we have to go back to a car that has been competitive three or four months ago, surely it can’t be good news if you think about it.

“It’s a bit hard to explain. If you don’t see there is a problem, you don’t think there is a problem. We felt the car was not as strong as it was before but if you don’t see there is anything wrong then you don’t know that there is something wrong.

“All the steps we did, they seem to make sense. But now looking back, they didn’t. Clearly there was something missed.”

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