Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari are aiming to beat Lewis Hamilton and win the final three races of the season regardless of the outcome of the championship, he said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference ahead of this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, the four-time world champion said also that Ferrari should stick with team boss Maurizio Arrivabene who, he said, had revitalised them.
“The pity was there were a couple of races for us where were just not there to fight,” he said, referring to his disappointing outings at the Singapore, Malaysian and Japanese Grands Prix.
But, he added, it had been a “really good year” overall for Ferrari and that they had exceeded expectations.
“I would have loved be on three wheels even in those races, but they obviously got away from us and we were just sitting on the side-lines.
“That was bitter. In the end it made a big difference that we are now where we are -- we still have a chance, we want to win the last three races and I think we can.
“We have proven probably everybody wrong. Overall the team has been incredible to be where we are now. No one expected us to be that strong, so there were a lot of positives."
Asked if Arrivabene should remain as the team boss, Vettel was adamant.
“Absolutely. What is his strength? Look at the results, look at where Ferrari was after 2014, how competitive we were in 2014.
“The spirit was down. He is the key person responsible for bringing that back, to open things up and change things that were done for 20 years before that.”