Can Sebastian Vettel still win the World Championship?

by H. Mayor – photo: | “The truth is we have a car that can win at any circuit. I think we are faster than Mercedes”, Sebastian Vettel declared to Autosport. Behind those words lay the ambitions of Ferrari’s ten-times champion. It is clear that he has not given up on the title yet, despite his significant disadvantage as things stand at the moment. Over the remaining races in Suzuka, Austin, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, Vettel would have to climb up the 34 points that separate him from the leader, with the added difficulty of some adverse dynamics at play. Mercedes seems to be enveloped in a confidence halo, as if they were certain of their ability to reach their top level at the exact key moment. Ferrari on the other hand, has been exhibiting a subtle decline for weeks.

The Maranello team is not one to conform easily. Whatever the end result might be, they can already celebrate an extremely positive end-of-year balance. Over a few months they have managed to extraordinarily narrow down the power and performance gap between their single-seaters and those of Mercedes. So much so, that they ended up dominating the first half of the competition and have continued being a threat over the second. Monaco was a turning point as Vettel’s triumph and Hamilton’s disaster positioned the German driver at a whole race’s distance from the Briton (25 points ahead)

Since then, Vettel only managed another victory in Hungary in contrast with the five triumphs that Lewis has achieved over the following nine races. After a few months testing the ground tables turned around once more in Belgium. Hamilton, having managed three victories and a second position, was up against a visibly worn-out Vettel whose vehicle, to top it all of, was experiencing some reliability issues. In summary, over those four races the British driver accrued 93 points against the 45 achieved by Vettel.


Seb has not only been outperformed by Hamilton but also by Valtteri Bottas himself who has had better results over the past two months. There is also not much to say in Raikkonen’s support: Four podiums so far but a mediocre trajectory.

We can not either get much of an insight by looking back at how previous World Championships have resolved. Last year, Hamilton swept through the last five races (taking four victories) in his desperate quest to reach Rosberg. In 2015, and having virtually secured the victory, he plain-sailed through the last stage. In order to win, Vettel would have to revert this trend, get his own inconsistencies under control and complete four perfect races. The only hope, going back to the beginning, is precisely the fact that this year is not like previous ones: Ferrari have demonstrated that they are fit for to the challenge and this year there is not one single scuderia exerting their absolute dominance above the others (Red Bull has something to do with this).

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