Vettel was second in qualifying and second a day later in the grand prix, finishing 2.4s behind the British racer.
Three-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton came out with yet another tremendous performance as he won the Belgian Grand Prix here at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday.
Hamilton was the fastest in all three sessions, but Vettel was not far behind.
“I’m just honoured to be up there with him in the poles but he will still be one of the greatest of all time”.
The length of Vettel’s contract ends speculation he could join forces with Mercedes, and the likelihood of Hamilton moving in the opposite direction when his deal expires next year. “I have always admired him”.
Asked by Sky F1’s David Croft if he feared unreliability could hamper his title bid, Hamilton said: “I don’t. I believe that Ferrari has something unique, something the other teams don’t have”.
Without this edge, Vettel could not find a way through, with Hamilton pulling clear to take his fifth win of the season and cut the gap at the top of the drivers’ championship down to just seven points.
Britain’s Jolyon Palmer, who scaled Mount Kilimanjaro during the summer break, is bidding to get his stuttering grand prix career back on track.
“The presence of Ferrari is huge”.
“It is. To hear the message that Ross just gave, I just have to say a big thank you”. “That’s my conviction. It was a no-brainer to continue”. We’ve been feeling a bit more comfortable and been able to drive as we want, and the result suddenly looks a bit better.
Raikkonen went quickest in the morning after having repairs on his Ferrari.
The 32-year-old added that victory concluded a great weekend’s work for him and the Mercedes team.
Since moving to Ferrari Vettel has won seven more races – four this season, including last time out in Hungary – and he now leads this year’s Drivers’ Championship by 14 points from Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton.
“I know Seb doesn’t want to be my team-mate. Michael (Schumacher) won most of his championships in red”.
Sebastian Vettel has committed his future to Ferrari until the end of 2020 after signing a new contract. “Obviously not that exciting probably to watch because we were very close but nothing happened”, Vettel said.
Ferrari has kept its third engine and has another permitted change remaining over the eight races following Belgium.
Kimi Raikkonen was left fourth after an error on his final lap in Q3 followed by Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
A move by Mercedes for Vettel, Hamilton’s direct rival for this year’s Formula One World Championship, could be viewed as undermining the Brit’s position within the team.