Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari must take the “last step” if it is to stand a chance of winning next year’s Formula 1 world championship.
Vettel challenged Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes in 2018, enjoying strong form at various stages of the campaign, but its title bid faltered after the summer break for a second straight season.
Hamilton secured his fifth world title with two rounds to spare while Mercedes put the constructors’ crown out of Ferrari’s reach at the penultimate event in Brazil.
Asked at the FIA Gala in Russia about what he needed from his Ferrari next year, Vettel said: “Better performance. I think it is very simple.
“We had our races where we were very close and very competitive, and overall our car this year has been more an all round car which worked on all tracks.
“So we had our highlights and I think most of them we used.
“But then we had too many races where we were not quite there. Sometimes [it was] by a tenth or two but sometimes a bit more, where we were left with not much to do over a weekend. And that is something we must fix and try to control better going into next year.”
Reflecting on the season, Vettel rated his triumph in Bahrain as his best of the year, while also fondly recalled his victory in Canada.
“I would say Bahrain [as a season highlight] because initially I didn’t like it, but now I really love it,” he explained.
“I loved the trophy after the race. It was a tight battle after the last laps so it was good to hang onto the lead until the end.
“Then I think the other one that has to be mentioned is Canada, especially as it was 40 years after Gilles [Villeneuve] with Ferrari [won]. It was a very emotional day.”
He added: “I think it was a long year, we had our ups and down. Most of us followed it very closely but we were able as a team to do another step.
“Still, the last step is missing to make sure that we have a word until the end of the championship and fight for it all the way, and not just for parts of the season.”