Sebastian Vettel: I can still win title despite Spanish GP defeat
|By Andrew Benson, Chief F1 writer at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya|
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel said he still has a chance of winning the title despite being soundly beaten by Mercedes in the Spanish Grand Prix.
The team had their least competitive performance of the season, as Vettel finished third, 45 seconds behind Nico Rosberg with Lewis Hamilton second.
"I am in the fight," Vettel said. "We are able to improve our car.
"We have some steps coming. We need to start turning things around very soon but we are pushing hard to beat them."
However, team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said he did not believe Ferrari could beat Mercedes over the season.
"To fight for the championship, I think it is too much," he said.
Ferrari arrived in Spain with a huge upgrade to their car, the extent of which impressed the Mercedes engineers.
Ferrari had redesigned virtually every aerodynamic surface of the car, but despite the team insisting it was a step forward, they were 0.8secs a lap slower than Mercedes.
Four-time world champion Vettel said: "I think we have done a step forward as a team. It doesn't really show here but I am quite confident we will be stepping up our game again in the next couple of races and I look forward to that.
"If you take the average of the first five races you have the reality.
"Some tracks you are better than others. For some reason, we were not that competitive here even though we have improved the car.
"I am not happy with the result in terms of the gap to the front but we can be happy with the points."
Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen decided to take the upgrades off his car because he had been unhappy with their feel in Friday practice. The Finn finished fifth, behind Williams's Valtteri Bottas, after qualifying seventh.
Asked if the upgrades were actually a step forward, Vettel said: "It is a good question.
"If you look in the gap in the race, it was the biggest we had so far this season so the conclusion could be it is not good. But we are confident we are going in the right direction.
"We have to find the reason for the gap. Either the track didn't suit us or the conditions really suited Mercedes, I think it is one of them and I am looking forward to being a bit closer to them again in Monaco."
Raikkonen said the team had "learned a lot" by their decision to split the specification of the two cars.
Arrivabene added: "The comparison between the two cars is clearly there. Seb was going very well.
"The gap to Mercedes is there. Now we need to analyse all the data because it is clear we were losing 0.5 seconds a lap in the last sector. We need to understand how to improve the whole package."