Irvine: "Massively overrated" Vettel a one-trick pony

Ex-Ferrari Formula 1 driver Eddie Irvine has labelled four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel "massively overrated" and a "one-trick pony".

Irvine: "Massively overrated" Vettel a one-trick pony

Irvine raced for Ferrari from 1996 to 1999 and earned all four of his grand prix victories in his final season with the famous team, taking on the role of its title protagonist after Michael Schumacher suffered a broken leg.

Despite claiming that "I don't watch it [F1] anymore because it bores me", Irvine – who left F1 at the end of the 2002 season after three years with Jaguar – questioned five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton's credentials because of the Briton's "debatable" competition.

Irvine, the 1999 championship runner-up, said Hamilton is "in a different league" to his rivals but "I don't even think he is close to Michael's league" because the likes of Vettel have questionable quality.

Speaking to BBC Northern Ireland, Irvine said: "I think Vettel is good if he is at the front and he doesn't have anybody to race.

"When you watch Lewis race, Lewis is focused on racing and getting ahead.

"You watch Vettel, and when Vettel is racing is someone, he is focused as much on the other guy as he is on where he is going and inevitably crashes into the other guy.

"That happens nearly all the time. I think Vettel is a good driver, but a four-times world champion, I just don't see it.

"I think he is massively overrated, I think he's a one-trick pony. Lewis has a much broader talent."

Irvine said Hamilton was probably a better overtaker than Schumacher but has too many "off days" compared to the likes of seven-time world champion or Ayrton Senna.

"If you look over the two [sic] years Lewis and [Jenson] Button were together [at McLaren], Button actually outscored him over two years," said Irvine. "No one ever did that to Michael.

"Michael's level of performance was consistently higher even though Lewis is an amazingly talented driver.

"When Lewis first came to Formula 1 he was fantastic to watch and his overtaking was second to none. He's probably a better overtaker than Michael.

"But for pace, and consistency over a whole weekend, over a whole year, I don't think anyone touches Michael – even Senna."

Elaborating on why he finds modern F1 "incredibly boring", Irvine said it was "synthetic", "not raw" and "too perfect".

He added: "When you make a mistake you don't pay a price.

"It's just got safer and safer, which is a good thing but it's just gone too far. It's just progress, progress, progress until it's like, 'What have we ended up with here?'.

"And I think we have ended up with something a bit mushy and not that interesting."

Eddie Irvine

Eddie Irvine

shares
comments
Ricciardo test snub shows Red Bull "afraid" - Renault

Previous article

Ricciardo test snub shows Red Bull "afraid" - Renault

Next article

Red Bull "€15million poorer” thanks to 2019 F1 rules - Marko

Red Bull "€15million poorer” thanks to 2019 F1 rules - Marko
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari
Author Scott Mitchell
How F1's street track return can offer Verstappen redemption Prime

How F1's street track return can offer Verstappen redemption

Red Bull has failed to capitalise on having the best car in the opening rounds. BEN EDWARDS thinks change is around the corner.

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke Prime

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke

Pierre Gasly has driven superbly since demotion from Red Bull in 2019, but the team formerly known as Toro Rosso has come on strong too – building a car that can often challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Here Gasly reveals to ALEX KALINAUCKAS how AlphaTauri has given him the tools needed to rebuild his reputation

Formula 1
May 17, 2021
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021