Vettel: It's still been a very good year

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Sebastian Vettel maintains that 2017 has been a 'very good season' for Ferrari despite their recent reliability woes.

The Scuderia have emerged as the first genuine match for Mercedes in the turbo-hybrid era, with Vettel leading the way before the summer break after racking up four victories.

Yet his campaign has since unravelled after a dramatic crash in Singapore and disastrous mechanical faults in Malaysia and Japan.

That leaves the German a whopping 59 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton with four races remaining.

Vettel, though, was keen to focus on the positives as he faced the media ahead of the United States Grand Prix, pointing out that Ferrari have exceeded expectations.

"Overall, I think it's been so far a very good season," the four-time world champion said.

"You always judge depending on the last couple of races, and they were not so good, but I think we are the team that did the most progress.

"Everybody expected Red Bull to be very strong this year, and as a fact they were not, especially in the beginning, and it was a given that Mercedes would be strong.

"Nobody expected us to be as strong as we are.

"I think there's still massive potential that's not unleashed completely, so it's up to us and the people in charge to make sure, but overall I think things are heading the right way.

"I think the direction is the right one, but we want to make bigger steps obviously."

His chances of snatching the title may be extremely slim, but the four-time world champion is refusing to throw in the towel.

"Obviously our chances are slimmer than they have been some races ago, but still I think there is a chance," he said.

"We have a great car, we had the package to win the past couple of races, which we didn't, but that doesn't mean that we have no chance to win the next races.

"We need to look forward to what's next, and the next race is here."