Sebastian Vettel says Mercedes had performed “close to perfection” after wrapping up the constructors’ championship with four races to spare, showing Ferrari that it must step up if it wishes to end its title drought.

Mercedes secured a record-equalling sixth successive constructors’ title in Japan last Sunday, while either Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas will win the drivers’ title, extending the team’s streak of title success that dates back to 2014.

Ferrari entered the season with high hopes after impressing through pre-season testing, but struggled to compete with Mercedes, and has won just three races so far this year.

Asked what he had learned about Mercedes through the 2019 season, Ferrari driver Vettel praised the team’s consistency and high level of performance.

“Obviously you can’t see what they are doing, but I think from the outside they are very close to perfection every time they go out on track. Very consistent, very little mistakes,” Vettel said.

“That’s certainly also part of what makes them so strong. If you clinch the constructors’ title with four races to go, there’s a lot of things you do better than all the others.

“If you go into detail then you can argue what their car is maybe doing better than ours, but I don’t think that’s the point overall, it’s a team effort. I think we do have the ingredients, we do have the commitment, we do have the intelligence, but we just need to do it better.

“It’s a lot of small things. It’s not one thing that we need to improve, it’s a lot of small things that we need to do better, every single one of us, and that’s the only way that we can try and step up.

“Hopefully they get a bit bored. We will see what happens.”

Vettel currently lies fifth in the drivers' championship for Ferrari, nine points shy of teammate Charles Leclerc.

 

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