Podium still a target for Vettel despite penalty


Sebastian Vettel may be subject to a three-place grid penalty at the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend but he still believes he can get his Ferrari onto the podium.

The four-time Formula One world champion was penalised after causing an accident at the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix, Vettel crashing into Nico Rosberg as he tried to dive down the inside.

Vettel has a superb record at Suzuka, though, with four previous race victories included in seven podium finishes at the circuit since his F1 debut.

And after encouraging signs in both practice sessions on Friday he hopes to quickly wipe out his penalty and claim a top-three finish.

"A podium finish is always possible," he said. "There might even be rain at some point.

"It sure doesn't help if you start further at the back [because of the grid penalty], but overtaking is possible, even if it is not so easy."

Despite finishing third and fifth in FP1 and FP2 respectively, Vettel still lost a lot of time to the two Mercedes, something he hopes can change with a few tweaks in the garage.

"Overall, I am not entirely happy with the balance of the car, but I am sure this is something we can work on," he added. 

"We tried to do our homework, but the balance is not there yet. We will now need to look at the data and see where we are, also compared to the others. 

"Ideally you would always love to have more grip around here, because it feels fantastic if you do, but I am sure we can tune the balance and distribute the grip a bit better, so that we will be in a better shape."