Tue, 21 May 2019

Baku - Sebastian Vettel is unfazed by his disappointing start to the season and certain that he can recover to win his fifth world drivers title.

Ferrari's four-time champion told reporters in Baku on Thursday he did not regard Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix as decisive despite struggling to impress in the three season-opening races.

"I know some people like to put it that this is the decider, but we have a lot of races left," he said.

"Hopefully, at one point, we can look back and say this was the decider or the decisive moment, but right now I don't know and I don't really care.

"We want to win, but that's for any race we go to. I think we have a very strong package and I'm confident if we can get it in the right place then we should be able to show that and give the others a very, very hard time.

"I'm not thinking that it all depends on one single moment."

Asked if he felt certain he can beat new Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc and then defeat Hamilton, Vettel said: "I have the absolute belief that I can be world champion."

Since winning four successive championships with Red Bull from 2010 to 2013, Vettel has been unable to add another success despite switching to join Ferrari.

Instead, he has seen Mercedes take over as the dominant force in Formula One and Lewis Hamilton, who he trails already by 31 points, as the outstanding and most successful driver.

Vettel is also only one point ahead of the precocious Leclerc, despite twice being assisted by team orders this year, and Ferrari have had no answer as Mercedes dominated the opening three races with three straight one-two finishes.

He admitted Ferrari had anticipated being in a stronger position after looking fast in pre-season testing.

"Going into the season, after the test, I think we looked in very good shape, but we lost a bit of that and, also, Mercedes looked very strong and so did Red Bull.

"We expected it to be a three-way fight, which maybe it hasn't been so far, but I certainly think Red Bull will be one of the contenders as we go on.

"They are usually very strong developing their car and improving their pace and performance throughout the season. They had a decent start and they will only get stronger."

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