Vettel defends Ferrari - opposes critics

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In the face of a difficult season, Sebastian Vettel has defended Ferrari and believes the Italian outfit is still on the right track.

It's been a disappointing year so far for the Scuderia, with results falling short of expectations and a technical structure which has appeared somewhat disrupted following the departure of technical director James Allison.

Ferrari's current state of affairs has obviously come under the scrutiny of the media, but Vettel believes that criticism directed at the red squad this year has been unfair despite the team's huge performance - and points - gap with leader Mercedes.

"If you look at the gap to Mercedes it has been fairly stable," Vettel contends.

"Some races we are a bit closer, some races we are a bit further away. It is fair to say that in qualifying the gap is big and in the races it shrinks a bit, but it's still there.

"At the start of the year we were clearly the second best team, but now towards the end of the year, here and there in terms of pace, we slip behind. I think it's very close.

"But it's not that fair to say we are massively behind - a tenth-and-a-half [of a second] is not big. Fair enough, we are obviously level with Red Bull and it will be our target to get second in the constructors' [championship] back."

Despite Ferrari's results offering a self-explanatory picture of its current status, team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has said that the team's reshuffling of its technical structure on the back of Allison's exit last summer is working, an assessment which Vettel agrees with.

"Even if there were a lot of things that people called bad luck, or whatever, I think we stuck to our way and that was the right thing to do. We are still heading in the right direction.

"Sometimes you wish results would come and confirm this - sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, but the most important thing is that they do, and I believe they will."

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