Vettel "just being honest" about subpar season

Sebastian Vettel has explained his downbeat assessment of his Formula 1 season as a desire to be “honest” and admission he was not as good as he could have been.

Vettel "just being honest" about subpar season

The four-time world champion won just one grand prix in 2019 and finished fifth in the drivers’ championship, his worst result since joining Ferrari in 2015.

Vettel was beaten by teammate Charles Leclerc in the young driver’s first season at Ferrari, and made several mistakes that cost him significant results at several grands prix.

After his fifth-place finish in last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale, Vettel told television crews that he should have done a better job in 2019.

Asked by Motorsport.com to explain why he was so hard on himself, and if it was down to end-of-season fatigue or a particularly difficult year, Vettel said: “No, I think I've just been honest.

“I didn't feel like I've always done what I can do. I think I've been around for long enough and I'm honest enough to admit it, so I think here and there I should have done a better job.

“I know that there's more from my side so clearly I look at myself first, address all the points that I feel need to be addressed – but first address the points that need to be addressed in myself.

“So I think there's things that I can do better, that I know I can do better. That’s the first thing I look at and obviously try to do better next year.”

Vettel spun while battling Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain, a race Leclerc was leading from pole position until a late engine problem.

Two major further errors occurred before the summer break, first in Canada where Vettel’s mistake led to a time penalty that cost him victory, then in Britain where he crashed into Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.

After the summer break, Vettel spun at the Ascari chicane under no pressure in the Italian Grand Prix – which Leclerc won – and rejoined unsafely as Lance Stroll rounded the corner, leading to a penalty and meaning Vettel non-scored while Leclerc won Ferrari’s home race.

Vettel did win the Singapore Grand Prix, although that was aided by strategy hurting poleman Leclerc, and he had a team orders controversy in Russia before instigating the contact that led to a race-ending clash with Leclerc in Brazil.

While Vettel believes there’s no “rocket science to be changed” in his approach for next season he is aware he can find ways to improve.

“It's always in the details, small adjustments, so it's nothing big and major,” said Vettel. “I don't need to drive differently, I know how to drive and obviously we all work together trying to improve the car to make it faster for both of us.

“But as I mentioned before, you know you always look at yourself.

“I'm not doing the same stuff that I did 10 years ago, I've evolved and I think to the better. But certainly here and there there's things that you always feel you can do better.”

Vettel believes he was not helped by Ferrari’s poor start to the season, which resulted in several grands prix where its car was simply not competitive enough to fight Mercedes.

“We spent the first half of the year trying to really understand where we are lacking performance together, trying to be precise finding answers, what the car is missing, and so on, trying a lot of things,” said Vettel.

“Here and there, I think we could have focused more on on-the-day performance. But it's also part of the process.

“It is nothing huge, nothing big, but I feel that the way I was driving here and there, I've had a couple of mistakes that I shouldn't make.

“In terms of approach, et cetera, there may be small things I can do.”

shares
comments
Schumacher: Second F2 year can be “head start” for F1 2021
Previous article

Schumacher: Second F2 year can be “head start” for F1 2021

Next article

The starring F1 rookie who doubted he could make it

The starring F1 rookie who doubted he could make it
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Prime

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. Mark Gallagher ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022