Vettel: The car is quick so we don't need to worry

Hamilton on the verge of fourth title (1:04)

Jennie Gow reports from Austin ahead of the race that could seal Lewis Hamilton's fourth drivers' championship. (1:04)

AUSTIN -- Sebastian Vettel believes his Ferrari will be quick at this weekend's U.S. Grand Prix despite a series of problems during Friday practice.

The Ferrari driver has seen his title hopes fall apart at the last three rounds and, with four races remaining, trails Lewis Hamilton by 59 points in the drivers' standings.

He was third fastest in Friday practice at Austin, 0.524s off Hamilton, but needs to beat the Mercedes driver on Sunday in order to retain a realistic chance of winning the championship.

A spin at the penultimate corner in the second session and a problem with the front of his car during his long runs meant Vettel was limited to just eight laps on Friday afternoon, but he remains confident his car has solid underlying pace.

"It was a messy afternoon and not an easy session, but the car is quick so we don't need to worry," Vettel said. "Obviously the only lap I had was the one I set with the ultra-softs. Before I probably took too much risk earlier in the session and lost the rear into turn 19 -- it has been quite slippery there all day -- it was my mistake.

"We lost a set of tyres but in the end I felt something was not right with the car so we came in a couple of times to check and then go out to double and triple check. We are looking into it to try to see something."

The problems during Vettel's long runs mean he will have to rely on teammate Kimi Raikkonen's data for his race setup, but he does not think that will put him at a major disadvantage compared to Mercedes.

"Obviously they had a much better day than us, but the main thing was that Kimi did some running so I think we got enough information. Obviously I didn't get too many laps so I need to find the rhythm tomorrow, but as I said the car is quick so I am not too worried. We just need to make sure we get everything in order then it should be a good day."