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Sebastian Vettel: Ferrari has proven everyone wrong in 2017

MEXICO CITY -- Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari has proven its critics wrong and exceeded expectations by emerging as a title contender this season -- even if his championship bid has fallen apart in the last four rounds.

Vettel led the championship by 14 points after the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of July, but since F1's summer break has struggled to keep up with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. A first-lap accident in Singapore and reliability problems in Malaysia and Japan saw Vettel's chances decimated in the space of three rounds and he arrives at this weekend's Mexico Grand Prix with his title hopes hanging by a thread.

Sebastian Vettel. Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
To keep his title bid alive, Vettel has to finish in the top two in Mexico and hope Hamilton finishes sixth or lower, but it is hard to imagine a turn of events where he will be crowned champion at the end of this year. Nevertheless, Vettel says Ferrari can be proud of its achievements this year after being written off following a win-less 2016 campaign.

"Obviously, it's not as much in our hands as we would like it to be, but overall I think it's been a very good year," he said. No one expected us to be that strong to start with, nobody expected us to be that strong mid-way through the season, towards the end of the season so I think there's a lot of positives. "The pity really is there were a couple of races where we were just weren't' there to fight, we didn't have a chance to fight. I would have loved to be on three wheels, even in the race but with a chance to fight. They obviously got away from us and we were just sitting on the sidelines so that was bitter, but in the end, it made a big difference.

"Nevertheless, we are now where we are and as I said we still have a chance. We want to win the last three races and I think I can, so that's our goal and we will see what happens. Overall, I think the team has done incredible to be where we are now, which again, nobody expected. We've proven probably everyone wrong.

"There was a lot of talk in the winter, I remember for sure about Mercedes who were the favourites going in, a lot of talk about Red Bull, other people but not so much about Ferrari. It was good to start off strong and keep going that way."

Vettel believes the setbacks Ferrari has faced will make the team stronger in the long run.

"We had the things breaking and so on, but that's a part of racing. I think overall, I know and I feel that there is a lot we can do and we have to do better. But, we know where to tackle. We know how our weaknesses. Some things may happen quick, somethings will take some time but if we get those things sorted I think we will end up being a much stronger team, able to build a stronger car, a stronger package, a stronger engine.

"That's the things that we need to keep working on. We keep growing as a team, growing the culture that allows us to build a strong package, strong car, strong engine, that's where we have made massive steps in the last three years and where we have to continue to make those steps."

Author: Laurence Edmondson, ESPN UK
Source: http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/21170409/ferrari-proven-everyone-wrong-2017

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