With Lewis Hamilton on the cusp of wrapping up the World title, Sebastian Vettel acknowledges that Ferrari have made it “a bit too easy” for Mercedes.
Last time out in Japan both Ferrari and Vettel got it wrong; one in qualifying, the other in the race.
While Ferrari made the wrong tyre call in Q3, sending the German and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen out on intermediates when everyone else was on slicks, Vettel crashed into Max Verstappen during the race which cost him dearly in his fightback.
As such he left Japan trailing Hamilton by 67 points.
That means the Mercedes driver can wrap up his fifth World title at the next race in Austin, he only needs to outscore Vettel by eight points.
“There is still a chance, but the last couple of races we made it a bit too easy for them,” Vettel conceded.
“But also credit to them, they executed well and that’s the name of the game.
“But we need to look after ourselves and do our bit the next couple of races and then we’ll see.
“Surely it didn’t help we finished sixth and they won.”
Ferrari’s implosion since the summer break recently led to team boss Maurizio Arrivabene publicly chastising the team, saying their errors have been “unacceptable”.
He added: “It is true that we are a young team, and we are probably missing an ‘old hand’, an experienced person capable of reading situations correctly and quickly.”
Asked about his boss’ comments, Vettel replied: “I don’t know exactly what he said, but we spoke internally about what happened [in qualifying]. We were not happy with the result.
“What we did didn’t work, so we review what we could have done better at the time and I’m sure next week in the quiet we will go through it again.
“If it’s raining like that it’s also a bit of a gamble. All of a sudden if the rain comes and we could manage half a lap with intermediates and the other half is full ran we look like geniuses and everybody else looks like idiots. It’s always close, but for sure it is something we should have done better.”