Sebastian Vettel concedes it will be “bloody difficult” to win this year’s title against the might of Mercedes, though the Ferrari ace says he “mathematically” remains in contention ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
After a lacklustre campaign with Red Bull last year, Vettel has found fresh impetus at Maranello and rapidly emerged as a dark horse candidate to seal a fifth crown.
With nine races still to go in 2015, the German sits third in the Drivers’ standings, 42 points adrift of championship leader Lewis Hamilton.
“Mathematically, I don’t think it takes a genius to look at how many points there is to score and to see how many points we are behind,” said Vettel.
“It is still possible but for sure we also know, being realistic, it will be bloody difficult given the gap that is still there.”
Vettel is the only non-Mercedes driver to have won a race this year, with the 28-year-old securing victory at Sepang and Budapest.
Although he beat Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg fair and square on both occasions, Vettel admits Ferrari is still trailing the defending champions in terms of outright performance.
“For sure if we have the opportunity to turns thing around, like we did in Hungary, then we have to go for it.
“If we have the opportunity and we don’t use it then it is really down to us, and our mistakes, but if you look at the races so far, there were two opportunities that we used which is really good.
“Other than that, we did the best trying to be right behind, but for sure the advantage with Mercedes is still there, it doesn’t just disappear.”
Vettel will try to maintain his 2015 title hopes alive by clinching a third Belgian Grand Prix victory this Sunday. His first two Spa successes came with Red Bull in 2011 and 2013.
Click here for a gallery of the biggest crashes at Spa-Francorchamps