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Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari have had a 'fantastic' 2015

Four-time world champion describes Scuderia's 2015 performances so far as “fantastic” and “phenomenal”

Sebastian Vettel: 2015 Hungarian GP

Sebastian Vettel has given a glowing assessment of Ferrari’s form at the halfway stage of the season, even though they haven’t challenged Mercedes as often as many had hoped.

Speaking on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian GP, the four-time world champion described his team's performances as “fantastic” and “phenomenal”. At one point Vettel even hailed the Scuderia’s resurgence as a “miracle”.

A hallelujah moment came at the Malaysian GP in March when Vettel won only his second race for the team. Since then Ferrari have failed to match the high expectations that arguably most F1 fans have placed on them, although Vettel prefers to measure progress in terms of where they’ve come from rather than what they still need to do.

“I think we had a fantastic start,” he said. “Being on the podium in the first race for me was obviously fantastic – my first race with Ferrari – and the second race already the first win, so it was a phenomenal start.

“After that, I think we were able to be very consistent with a lot of podium finishes. When you are starting the season there’s one team that is very difficult to beat; we’ve managed on occasions – in Malaysia, qualifying in Bahrain, and in the race as well Kimi [Raikkonen] was splitting them – so overall very, very positive.

He added: “Especially what is starting to shape up in the background, which you don’t see here and you don’t see immediately on the car, is very promising.”

Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari garage
Image: Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari garage

Warming to his theme that Ferrari can only match Mercedes in the longer term, Vettel denied the Scuderia are “in crisis” after falling off the pace last time out at Silverstone.

More from Hungarian Gp 2015

Although he finished on the podium at the British GP, it was more down to an opportunistic pit stop when rain started falling rather than the performance of their SF15-T, which also lagged behind that of Williams.

“I think you’re talking about one race where you’re basically saying just because we got lucky, we finished on the podium,” Vettel argued.

“What counts is that we finished on the podium, we got the maximum result. Certainly if you look at the raw performance, Silverstone was not as good as the races before; but as I said, the first half of the season has been phenomenal.

“If you look where we’ve been last year, where the team is coming from, in terms of performance of the car, in terms of team morale, everything is a lot better than it was.

“I think Ferrari has done the biggest step of all the teams and I don’t know why it’s so difficult to appreciate it.”

Asked where he’d like to score Ferrari’s second win – the target set by team boss Maurizio Arrivabene at the start of the season – Vettel naturally opted for Monza.

Yet he added that beating Mercedes wouldn’t be easy anywhere. The Hungaroring perhaps? “I think this circuit has potentially the chance to favour the rest of the pack, let’s say, a bit more than others. But you still need to extract a perfect weekend.”

Kimi Raikkonen: 2015 Hungarian GP

And with speculation continuing about the identity of Vettel’s team-mate in 2016, he said he’d be perfectly happy if Ferrari retained Raikkonen.

“The thing I appreciate a lot about Kimi is that there’s no bull***t – just to quote him. We are both working in the same direction trying to help the team,” he added.

“I can’t really comment and I don’t really know the situation that’s going on. But whatever happens, it’s important that we keep the morale and atmosphere as a team and we keep going in one direction.”

Raikkonen himself said he was as in the dark as he had been in Melbourne back in March. “I don’t know, you’ll have to talk to the team,” he told reporters when asked about his future. “It’s not my decision. I don’t know any more than I knew at the start of the year, so for me the whole thing hasn’t changed for months.

“If I knew I’d say, but unfortunately I don’t know.”

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