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Vettel: Mercedes will be hard to catch in 2014

11 Jul 2014

Sebastian Vettel admits Red Bull have found it difficult to improve their performance and bridge the gap to runaway championship leaders Mercedes over the first half of the 2014 season.

The Milton Keynes-based team have dominated in the constructors' standings for the past four seasons, but over the opening nine races of the year have scored just over half the points total of the Silver Arrows. Both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, are more than 60 points behind Mercedes' pairing of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

While the Red Bull duo have enjoyed various successes this year - most notably Daniel Ricciardo's breakthrough F1 triumph in Canada - Vettel admits the Milton Keynes-based team have not made significant inroads into their deficit to Mercedes.

"Right now the gap is very big and we haven't really closed the gap since race one," Vettel, who has scored podiums in Malaysia and Canada, told reporters at the recent Silverstone test.

"It has been up and down this year. Obviously we have tried lots of stuff to improve, but they (Mercedes) are doing the same thing.

"We are waiting for bigger steps to happen to close the gap even more which I think at the end of the season we can judge a lot better - then we know what we can do over the winter."

Vettel said a potential ban on Front-and-Rear Interconnected Suspension (FRIC) systems could alter the competitive order however, adding: "Obviously we know what we are running. We don't know what they [Red Bull's rivals] are running, but it is pretty clear what the FIA have said, so some teams will probably be more affected, others less."

Asked what he therefore hoped to achieve next weekend at his home Grand Prix in Germany, Vettel - who triumphed on home soil for the first time last year - said breaking into the top three was his chief focus.

"Obviously we hope for a smooth weekend without any problems, and to try and get the best out of myself and the car," he said. "It would be very special to finish on the podium there."