SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium -- Despite finishing second to title rival Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel says Sunday's race gave his team a timely confidence boost ahead of the rest of the season.
Prior to the race at Spa-Francorchamps, there had been a widely-held assumption that Mercedes held the advantage on high-speed circuits while Ferrari was the dominant team on low-speed tracks. That assumption had been based on Ferrari's lack of race pace at the similarly high-speed Silverstone circuit in July and its strong performances at the high-downforce, low-speed circuits in Hungary and Monaco.
But after a strong race at Spa on Sunday, Vettel says his team no longer needs to fear high-speed circuits such as Sepang and Suzuka later in the year.
"I think the positive thing is that we had very good race pace," Vettel said. "It was very difficult to follow in the middle sector but we stayed close and then we benefit in the first and last sector. Overall the car was very good.
"We didn't change too much compared to Silverstone which shows, on the one hand that Silverstone was just a bad weekend but we also improved the car, especially on race pace we are very strong. I mean we were, on average, a second off, or nearly a second off in Silverstone, so it's a big step. I'm very, very happy. I think we are on the right track and I don't think we have a circuit we should fear, going from now."
Hamilton's victory halved Vettel's lead in the championship to just seven points, meaning a repeat result at next weekend's Italian Grand Prix would see the pair finish the European season on level points. Vettel says there is still room for improvement but is confident his team has made a substantial step following F1's summer break.
"I believe we have the best car in terms of overall package. There's still something missing but the guys in Maranello are very motivated. I think we have done the biggest improvement and a big step forward. Now we turn the page on and move on to Monza: let's see what happens there."