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Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel has conceded that he is “struggling a little bit” and needs to improve this season.
Vettel is currently sixth in the drivers’ standings having taken 23 points from the three races so far this season, but with his best-placed finish being a third in Malaysia, the German knows more than anyone that he needs to up his game in order to climb the rankings.
He was out-qualified by new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo on Saturday at the Chinese Grand Prix and has admitted he is struggling to come to terms with the RB10 car.
Vettel said: “I think this year is very, very different; the cars are very different, so I don’t think you can compare last year to this year, first of all.
“But nevertheless I think Daniel is doing a very good job. He has not just had one good weekend; he’s had good weekends and so far he’s been able to get the maximum out of the car.
“On my side, maybe I’m struggling a little bit more but at the end of the day we have the same car. There’s nothing between the cars so if he manages to beat me then he beat me on the circuit fair and square.
“Of course, that’s not to my liking but equally I know that I have to do a little bit better.”
Vettel has now been out-qualified three times in four races by Ricciardo this season, as the pair line up behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who has secured another pole.