Despite a 50-point deficit to rival Lewis Hamilton in the title fight, Sebastian Vettel won’t go for a “now or never” approach in the closing stages of the championship.

A competitive start to the 2018 put Vettel and Ferrari in command during the first half of the season.

But progress by Mercedes coupled with several mistakes from the German driver and his team enabled Hamilton to overhaul his opponent and leave him behind in the last three races.

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Vettel is keeping his hopes alive however, but prefers to keep his head down and focus on maximizing his performance rather than keep track of his rival’s score.

“I don’t like the now or never approach, I don’t think there’s much sense in that,” Vettel said.

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“The secret has been not to count. We attack every weekend and every weekend is different, tracks are different and circumstances are different.

“I’m very happy to be here, I love this track, it is my favourite track in the world so I want to enjoy it and not spoil it by starting to count. I’ll not focus on the things that are against me.”

Ferrari was generally seen as having a superior car to Mercedes this season, but the widespread view is that the Scuderia simply wasted too many opportunities and points to break free from its rival.

Vettel disagreed however with the notion that the SF71-H had the clear upper hand over its Silver Arrows counter-part.

“I think we said many times that we have a strong car but I don’t think, maybe against people’s opinions, that we had a dominant car at any point this year.

“It has been very close all year, but there were too many races from our side where we weren’t close enough.

“A race like last weekend [in Russia], the way they could play with us in a race, usually means they have more pace, and there are other races in the season where we didn’t have the pace they had.

“But we’ve always been very close, in many races close enough to have a good fight,” added Vettel.

“We hope that we have the same performance here and hopefully we are closer in qualifying which matters to place the car well to have a strong race because once you are behind, we don’t have a lot of wheel-to-wheel racing.

“It is not easy to follow close and if you are racing for the same tenths, even if the car were easier to overtake, it wouldn’t be that straightforward because ultimately you go as quick as the guys around you. Hopefully we are a bit closer.”

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