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Sebastian Vettel said that he has noticed rival Formula One teams copying various design elements from Ferrari this year and believes that this is a clear indicator of his team’s development work.

Ferrari has undeniably produced its strongest car in the V6 era in the SF70H. Not only has this allowed the team to seriously challenge Mercedes for the constructors’ championship, but it has also helped Vettel notch a valuable lead over Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ standings.

Although both Mercedes and Ferrari have shown patchy form at times during the season so far, Ferrari has at least managed to stay well within touching distance of the Silver Arrows, coming out on top most recently at the tight-and-twisty Hungaroring before F1 paused for the summer break.

“It’s a fact to say in the last couple of years we didn’t have the best car and it’s a fact to say in the last couple of years we weren’t the strongest in terms of developing the car,” Vettel said.

“This year, if you look at the last three years, this year is a different story and we keep progressing. We have brought a lot of bits, we have seen a lot of bits of people copying ours but that’s a good sign.

“It’s testimony of good and hard work and the achievement that has gone into this project and we keep pushing flat-out.”

Vettel claimed that his team has “quite a good understanding” of which aspects of its car – widely recognised as one of the grid’s most consistent performers – need improving.

“We’ve been competitive every track where we have went,” he said. “It’s true that Mercedes has here and there been more competitive and we were a little bit behind.

“It’s normal from track to track there is a bit of a difference. For drivers, some tracks we like more than others so it’s the same for the car.

“It’s normal it’s up and down but that’s not our target – we want to be the best on every track we go. That’s not the case yet but we’re working on it.

“We have quite a good understanding of what the car needs. Now we have the time to look into a couple of things with a bit more peace and calm and try to improve.”

Ferrari’s one-two finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix helped them close the gap to within 39 points of Mercedes with nine races to go.

It was also a great outing for Vettel, who extended his lead over Hamilton to 14 points.

“The team is in much better shape this year and if you have the right results coming your way, you start to pick up some moment,” he said. “It’s up to us to keep it going. I’m quite confident we have the right people.

“We know how to build a strong car and we have improved the engine this year massively so everything is going in the right direction. I’m confident we’ll be there and fight for big points.”

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