In Brief

F1 briefing: Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll

Ferrari driver Vettel is confident of his title chances in the second half of the season

Vettel: Ferrari can put Mercedes under pressure

Sebastian Vettel is confident that Ferrari can overturn Lewis Hamilton’s 24-point lead at the top of the drivers’ standings.

Vettel has won four of the season’s 12 grands prix so far, but Mercedes ace Hamilton leads the way with five victories, including the past two in Germany and Hungary.

Vettel, who crashed out in Germany as Hamilton took the chequered flag, is excited by the second half of the season and believes Ferrari’s SF71H car can sustain a strong title challenge in the final nine races.

Speaking to F1.com about the title swinging in Hamilton’s favour, Vettel said: “We... sometimes [had] the pendulum swinging our way, sometimes not. From my point of view I think it’s been fairly consistent. The one error that was very costly [in Germany]... was quite small, because I wasn’t even trying but went off.” 

The German appeared to take the mistake in his stride. “That’s part of the game,” he said. “I can’t rewind the clock. It has happened. It obviously hurt us, but I’m quite confident that if we have the car to fight with, we can put them under pressure and make things happen in the second half.”

Vettel insisted he wasn’t giving up just yet. “I think this year has shown so far that our car is more efficient... stronger and still has a lot of potential to unleash,” he said. “I’m quite confident with what’s sitting in the pipeline that we can improve. So we’ll see. It should be an exciting second part of the year.”

The next F1 Grand Prix takes place at Spa in Belgium on 26 August.

F1 standings

How the F1 drivers’ championship table looks after 12 races:

  • 1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 213 points
  • 2 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 189
  • 3 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 146
  • 4 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 132
  • 5 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 118 
  • 6 Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 105
  • 7 Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) 52
  • 8 Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 45
  • 9 Fernando Alonso (McLaren) 44
  • 10 Sergio Perez (Force India) 30

How the F1 constructors’ championship table looks:

  • 1 Mercedes 345 points
  • 2 Ferrari 335
  • 3 Red Bull 223
  • 4 Renault 82
  • 5 Haas 66
  • 6 Force India 59
  • 7 McLaren 52 
  • 8 Toro Rosso 28 
  • 9 Sauber 18
  • 10 Williams 4 
Horner: Renault move a risk for Ricciardo

Red Bull Racing chief Christian Horner believes Daniel Ricciardo is taking an “enormous risk” by leaving for Renault next year.

Speaking on the F1 Beyond The Grid podcast, Horner said it was a shame the Australian was departing, adding that it was a decision he found “difficult to understand”. 

“He feels Renault are in the ascendancy,” said Horner. “I can’t help but feel he wants to be [in] a leading role perhaps in a smaller environment. Daniel said he decided after a long flight to America that he... wanted a change. If you look at the rational reasons for that, it’s difficult to understand.

“I could understand if it was to Ferrari or Mercedes. But it’s an enormous risk at his stage in his career.”

Stroll’s ‘love-hate relationship’ with F1

Williams driver Lance Stroll admits he has a “love-hate relationship” with F1. 

The 19-year-old Canadian has only scored four points so far this season with a Williams team that has struggled. But speaking to Motorsport.com, Stroll said he must stay positive and wait for his “moment to shine”.

He said: “This sport is a love-hate relationship and you have to have pride in the difficult times. You have to reflect on the past and know that there were good times, and [believe there are] good times ahead.

“You have to ride the rollercoaster. That’s what F1 is. You just always have to keep the morale high and keep positive and disconnect from the track when you can and come to work motivated and ready to go, regardless of what the situation is.

“This sport changes all the time and it’s just about being there and waiting for your moment to shine.”

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