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F1 2018: Where did it go wrong for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari?

Sky Sports | Updated: 2018-10-08 16:00:19

It wasn't supposed to be like this for Ferrari.

This looked to be the year when they would finally maintain a championship fight with Mercedes; the season where the famous Scuderia could finally end their remarkable, decade-long title drought.

But just like 2017, their challenge has faded after the summer break, before spectacularly collapsing at the Japanese GP.

All is not yet lost, but, following their Suzuka success, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton already have one hand on another championship double again.

How did this happen?
Ferrari were in control of both championships less than three months ago, on a high after making huge strides with their car and engine over the triple header.

Even as recently as a Belgian GP which Sebastian Vettel dominated, it was still clear that Ferrari held a significant car advantage.

But in the year's pivotal points, Ferrari faltered while Mercedes and Hamilton surged ahead. In Italy, a strategic mistake in qualifying was followed by a mistake by Vettel. In Singapore, where Ferrari were favourites to prosper, a qualifying lap of sheer brilliance was the critical difference.

Sebastian Vettel collides with Max Verstappen's Red Bull and spins off after trying a move into Spoon

Could Ferrari hit back in the Russia-Japan double header? They couldn't. While Mercedes pushed forward with a car that looks to be all-conquering on every track layout, Ferrari abandoned new parts in Japan after an unimpressive Sochi debut - a startling admission of failure in a crucial development race.

"Last year they lost it through reliability and their speed dipped as well," said Sky F1's Paul di Resta.

"When developments had to ramp up this year and they had to bring the real goodies for the last upgrade - it's not worked. Mercedes have just selected another gear and they're off."

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