In a rather telling interview with It.Motorsport.com, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel explains why the Championship was lost.
Starting 2018 as Championship favourite, the German Ferrari driver lost his way by mid season starting with the disastrous error during the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim. But he thinks that it wasn’t just the mistakes, but rather that he didn’t throw away the Championship, rather Mercedes grabbed it with a better performing car.
“Perhaps on this statement I have a different opinion than other people.” explains Vettel.
“It’s fair to say that we had a very competitive car, but I don’t agree that our car has been dominant.
“If I look back on the results we have achieved since the beginning of the year, I don’t see a dominant superiority.
“Just think of Spa: we didn’t have the pole, regardless of the conditions (rain) and we took advantage of the circuit layout using the ascent of Eau Rouge that is done in full and the long straight.”
“In 2017 we didn’t have the same power and that’s why overtaking 12 months ago was not possible, while this year we no longer had that power gap so I was able to manage to pass.
“It was always close”
“During this season in several Grand Prix we have been very close, with competitive race steps, but there is not a race in which we have dominated, which instead happened in the other direction (Mercedes).
“If you look at the races in Spain, France and Russia they (Mercedes) have confirmed a remarkable superiority, which in our case has never been.
“I don’t want people to misunderstand: I’m not here to argue that we have had a car not up to par, because I know we’ve had a competitive car, but I don’t agree with those who say we had a superior car.”
On the criticism the Ferrari driver has faced, Vettel admits he pays no attention to the press explaining that “it’s part of the game”.
I always thought that ‘you’re never good as they say, and you’re never bad as they say’, and I think it’s really like that. ”
“Having said that, I think enthusiasm is a good thing, because that’s why people love our sport. Sometimes this dose of passion involves receiving a lot of criticism, but there are also people who do not, or they do not, but it’s part of the game “.
“Sometimes I find that criticism is not motivated, but even when you’re judged as a hero, sometimes it’s not always right. In the end I think it’s right to keep the distance, rather than analyzing everything that is said and written word by word “.
As for the sudden loss of Ferrari’s CEO Sergio Marchionne, Vettel admits it had an impact.
Vettel, Webber and Horner say goodbye to Red Bull’s Renault V8 engine by revving the hell out of it after the 2013 Brazilian GP.
“It would be wrong to say that this is not the case. I think so, but I think the team has managed to stay very compact, and I do not think we have to use the results that have arrived (after the President’s disappearance) to draw conclusions “.
“Obviously it was a fundamental part of our team, it drove our team, and learning about the disappearance of a person of this caliber suddenly, is always tough.
“But we are a great team, made up of many departments and great professionals, and in many ways, they know what they have to do.”
Vettel on the Constructors’ championship: "In two weeks I will have the opportunity to drive the red car again, the car of my dreams. I will do everything to score many points . We will try to finish ahead of Mercedes in the Constructors’ championship" #MexicoGP
— Gianluca D'Alessandro (@Gianludale27) October 28, 2018
“I do not think the weight of an impact is felt in the short term, what happened this season I think is not connected to the disappearance of the President”.
These days not many interviews avoid mentioning the young ‘wonder boy’ Max Verstappen, and Vettel had more to reveal on the Dutch Red Bull driver and his aggressive driving style.
“Everyone has their own driving style and I think it’s a good thing to be aggressive, provided it is right at the right time. I think he has already ‘calmed’ compared to a few years ago, and that he has found his way, it is a path that all the drivers do “.
“I do not think there is any doubt that he is fast and talented, as I believe there are still many things he will learn in the future. I’m sure he will stay here a lot longer than me. ”