Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel Sends Warning to Mercedes: '2018 Should Be a Walk in the Park'

Sebastian Vettel has joked that the 2018 season should be a "walk in the park" for his Ferrari team despite Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton easing to a fourth world title this year.

Hamilton, the 32-year-old Briton, was crowned 2017 champion in Mexico at the end of October, after a season that saw him battling with the German and his Italian car.

Vettel was sat alongside Hamilton and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo in a drivers' press conference ahead of the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi,and asked whether Ferrari had learned much for next season.

"Well, I think if we can do a similar step for next year and... don't get me wrong, it's a joke and Germans don't like to joke so much, it should be a walk in the park," Vettel joked, as quoted by Planet F1.

"What I want to say by that is the steps made this year have been incredible. The way the team came out with a competitive car at the beginning, the way we have improved both chassis, engine has been outstanding.

"It has been close for most of the year but not close enough when it mattered. From that, we have made our conclusions, learned our lessons so that will help us next year."

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton
Sebastian Vettel, left, and Lewis Hamilton at the Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi, November 23. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty

Vettel suggested that Ferrari would be undergoing some winter development in order to help improve next season. The Italian team begun the year well, with Vettel leading the championship by 14 points before the summer break, having won the Hungarian Grand Prix.

But Hamilton won the three subsequent races, in Belgium, Italy and Singapore, that saw him gain ground and overtake Vettel—an opportunity he relished.

"It was great to have those close battles," Hamilton said, as quoted by the BBC. "To be fighting a four-time world champion who you respect—it is great to have those close races.

"He's going to raise the bar next year and I will have to make sure I do the same, otherwise the result is going to be different.

"Ferrari had a very good season, for at least half the season they were in the lead and that was not by luck—that was because they did a great job."

Hamilton Secured Victory in Mexico
Lewis Hamilton at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico, October 29. Mark Thompson/Getty