Sebastian Vettel respects his “very quick” Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc, but is working on changing that situation heading into this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Leclerc has out-qualified the four-time World Champion across the last seven races, while he also claimed back-to-back wins for Ferrari at Spa and Monza.
The pressure is mounting on Vettel to take the fight to his younger team-mate, but while he is intent on doing just that, he also stresses that Leclerc must be respected for the pace he is now showing.
“I think first you need to be fair and say that he is very quick,” Vettel was quoted by Motorsport Week.
“Second, I think we are judging qualifying where I didn’t have the best run. A couple of qualifying sessions where I didn’t take part in Austria and Germany, then Monza only half. But I don’t think there is anything particular standing out.
“I think one is just to be fair and admit that if he outqualifies me then he is doing a better job, but then you need to look at the reasons why.”
There is a belief that Vettel is struggling to “click” with the SF90, while mentally he claims to be in a good place despite another major error at Monza.
“I don’t think it’s mental,” he said. “It’s not that I’m in the wrong place, I think I’m doing the right things so that’s why I think it’s crucial not to complicate things too much.
“Here and there I might not have the absolute trust in the car and the best feeling yet, but I think it’s improving, my understanding of the car, and then it’s a question of lining up the details.
“But I’m sure that things will click and start to fall into place, so we need to keep our heads down.
“There’s always things we can do better and that I can do better and work on, so we will see how the next races go.”