Sebastian Vettel feels it would be "stupid" to rule Red Bull Racing out of the title fight as they still have a mathematical chance.
Nine races into this season, his fourth defending a World title, Vettel has yet to claim a single race win and has only two top-three results to his name.
In the midst of a problematic season for the German and his team, he has secured just 70 points, putting him a staggering 95 behind Championship leader Nico Rosberg.
But with 275 still to play for, the 27-year-old is adamant he's still in the title race even if the bookmarkers have now declared him a long-shot.
"If you look at points and mathematics we can still fight for the World Championship, so it would be stupid to say we're out," Vettel told Autosport.
"Being realistic, Mercedes is in a position where it can win every race and get a one-two, without having people bother them too much unless things are going wrong.
"Our target is to catch up and beat them sooner rather than later, but the gap is very big so therefore it's difficult to close it in a short amount of time."
Heading into his home race at Hockenheim, where Paddy Power have fellow German Nico Rosberg as the favourite to win, Vettel says he's just taking it race by race.
"I've never really stressed at any point in the season to focus too hard on the Championship, I've really gone race to race and tried to get the best out of myself and the car," he added.
"The gap is very big, and we'll struggle to catch up in big steps, but the goal is there for the whole team to progress and do a better job."
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