Sebastian Vettel believes Mercedes still remains the benchmark in Formula 1 despite Ferrari’s resurgence in the second half of the 2019 season.

Ferrari has claimed three consecutive victories for the first time since 2008 after dominating proceedings since F1’s summer break, with Charles Leclerc taking back-to-back wins at Spa and Monza, before Sebastian Vettel ended his winless run in Singapore to head the Italian squad’s first one-two finish in two years.

A revised aerodynamic package helped Ferrari steal a march on its closest rivals at Singapore, a circuit which it had expected to struggle at compared to Mercedes. But Vettel insists the Scuderia still has work to do to truly usurp the German squad at the top of F1’s pecking order.

“It has been a very good streak for us and a very good result for us in Singapore in particular because it’s been on a track where lately we haven’t been so good if you pick Hungary, so that certainly was a surprise - a positive surprise for us,” Vettel said.

“I think it also helps us to understand our car even further with the stuff we brought to the car, understanding the direction of maybe what it needs to do more to explore certain directions more.

“So there are a lot of positives, other than the result going forwards. I think overall it is definitely heading in the right direction but it would be wrong to think that now because we’ve won on two different types of tracks that we can win everywhere.

“I think Mercedes still has been in a position to win every race in a way this year, so they are the ones to beat and they are the benchmark. That’s where we want to be and ideally ahead of that, and not just there.

“There’s still a lot of work in front of us but it also shows that if things are going in the right way it doesn’t take much to click.”

Asked if he feels Ferrari’s car is now capable of challenging Mercedes at every circuit, Vettel replied: “Maybe it is what you expect but obviously we go track-by-track again. It’s so difficult to say.

“We are not racing on paper so we will find out. Certainly I gave us a lot of confidence because Singapore was not expected to be that strong.

“The new parts worked really well and seemed to give us an edge, so hopefully we can come here and be equally strong in terms of fighting for pole and hopefully in the race as well.

“I definitely believe there are things we can and must do better but it was a good step.”

 

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