Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari’s strong form at the start of 2018 makes him confident for the rest of the year despite losing the championship lead in Azerbaijan.

The Ferrari driver led more than half of last weekend’s race before losing the lead to Valtteri Bottas during a Safety Car period. However he is encouraged by Ferrari’s form after taking pole position in each of the last three races.

“The most important thing is that we have a good car,” said Vettel. “We have a car that we can work with qualifying. If we can put it in the front we can fight for a win. We have good pace in the race.

“I’m not worried at all because I think it’s quite different to last year where in qualifying for most of the time for most of the year we weren’t competitive enough. And also then later in the season in the race we weren’t competitive enough to make things happen.

“But if you are quick enough you can make things happen. Now the way the race turned out today is for some people good, for some people bad – speak to Valtteri I’m pretty sure he’s not sure because it was his win! – but that’s how it goes. As I said I’m not worried because the car is there and we need to make sure it stays there.”

Vettel said his last-ditch effort to pass Bottas at the final restart was worth a try even it cost him a podium finish.

“I tried because I saw there was a gap. Obviously going into turn one Lewis [Hamilton] was on my right, Valtteri was straight ahead. I had the tow, I had more speed so I go on the inside.

“It didn’t work, I tried, I got caught out with the bump and the front locking. But I don’t want to blame it on the bump nor the front linking, in the end I’m captain on board and it just didn’t work. But we can’t let one-and-a-half or two seconds of the race have a shame on all the race because there’s a lot of positives.”

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles