Sebastian Vettel has hit back at Ferrari’s critics and is certain the Italian manufacturer remains fully “committed and passionate” to battle its Formula 1 rivals in the title fight.

After coming into the 2019 campaign tipped as pre-season favourites by many, Ferrari’s year has continued to fail to live up to expectations with the Scuderia remaining winless, sitting second place in the F1 world constructors’ championship and a whopping 150 points behind runaway leaders Mercedes.

Since the mid-season surge of Max Verstappen and Red Bull, Ferrari’s second place continues to come under threat with just 44 points splitting the two teams in the standings over the summer break.

While the crux of Ferrari’s struggles have been down to curing weaknesses surrounding its car and perceived poor tyre management, both Vettel and teammate Charles Leclerc have come under-fire for mistakes which has also hampered Ferrari’s charge.

Despite its problems, Vettel says there’s plenty of fight within Ferrari and the team will continue to raise its efforts for the remainder of 2019.

“I think it’s clear that we are not where we want to be. You look at the points table, you look at the areas in tracks where we are lacking compared to others, we are addressing those things and we are working very hard,” Vettel said.

“I don’t think we are short of commitment. People are very passionate so I think the key now is to remain calm, do our homework and obviously try and catch up as much as we can. That’s the key priority.”

Vettel has also held his hands up on his own performances during the first half of the season, having found life tricky finding the sweet spot and ideal handling with the SF90.

“I need to be critical of myself because here and there I didn’t do the best job,” he said. “So that’s something that I need to focus on and need to get better in the second half of the season, which needs addressing.

“Other than that I think it was a bit up and down, some races were better, some races were worse. But certainly the last couple of races where maybe a bit better for me, whereas some races in the beginning I struggled a bit more when we tried a lot of things.”

Vettel remains fourth in the F1 drivers’ standings, 25 points off of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in third and 32 points behind Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes in second place.

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