SEBASTIAN Vettel has been slammed for his risky and mistake filled Formula One campaign, despite still hoping on to a mathematical hope of winning his fifth championship.
Sitting in second place in the drivers championship, Vettel had a horror weekend at the US Grand Prix but continues to keep the championship alive … barely.
Hamilton will wrap up the title with a seventh placed finish in any of the remaining three races, regardless of where Vettel finishes, while Vettel needs three straight wins and poor finishes from Hamilton.
The 31-year-old four-time F1 champion finished fourth on the weekend, just behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton, although the German did all he could to drop back to the field.
It started with a grid penalty during Saturday’s practice when Vettel didn’t slow down sufficiently during a red-flag period and dropped from second to fifth on the starting grid for the race.
During the race, Vettel spun out on the first lap dropping from fifth to 15th after bumping Australian Daniel Ricciardo and spinning out.
“If anything, it was Vettel giving Ricciardo a bit of a shove,” Martin Brundle said in commentary at the time.
Luckily for Vettel, Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished ahead of Hamilton to keep the championship alive for another week at the Mexican Grand Prix.
Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel shot past Valtteri Bottas in the second last lap to claim fourth behind the championship leader, who now only needs five points to wrap up the title.
Sebastian Vettel missed an opportunity to put a bit of pressure on Lewis Hamilton.Source:AFP
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Vettel would have won the race if he hadn’t tangled with Ricciardo.
“I think, imagine Sebastian not spinning out on lap one, I think he would have probably won the race easily,’’ Wolff said.
“It’s stressful, the drivers’ championship, we’re in a solid position, but I always said we mustn’t drop the ball. We’ve seen that in the past with other teams, and with the constructors’ championship, that is very important for the team.
“Nothing is done yet. There are 129 points to be scored with 66 that we have. Of course that is a good buffer but there is no reason to giggle away and think that you have the trophy in your hand because we can see that we haven’t got in our hands.”
Speaking to the Wide World of Sports, Australian Indy 500 winner Will Power said Vettel had gifted the championship to Lewis Hamilton after strange and risky decisions.
He had been involved in clashes in three of the past five races.
A stunning series of mistakes in the US had encapsulated his entire season.
“Some of the mistakes are unbelievable,” Power said.
“Even (yesterday), he probably had a car to win the race, and he throws it away on the first lap.
“Some of the stuff, like speeding under a red flag in practice, is just totally unnecessary. I don’t understand why he would be taking risks like this.
“There’s been so many weird incidents he’s had that’s put him on the back foot.”
Sebastian Vettel has been his own worst enemy in recent races.Source:AFP
Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle agreed and wrote in a piece Vettel should have been pushing to the top of the podium over the weekend.
“Given Vettel’s pace he could have won the Grand Prix without this clumsiness,” he said.
“Ferrari went the wrong way with car updates back in Singapore and it’s taken all this time to understand that despite the might of the team and their comprehensive tools and data, and drivers who have over 500 starts combined. That tells us more about the complexity of the cars than anything else.”
The Ferrari driver was himself critical of his team Ferrari’s mistakes.
The team recently made some upgrades but abandoned it to older car specification in the US and were rewarded with Kimi Raikkonen’s first win for the team since 2009.
“You can see it is good news, but you can also see it is bad news. It took too long,” Vettel said.
“If we have to go back to a car that has been competitive three or four months ago, then surely it cannot be good news if you think about it?
“For us, on the technical side, it is important to understand what went wrong.”
He said there was no easy explanation.
“Certainly, we felt that the car was not as strong as it was before, but if you don’t see there is anything wrong, then you don’t know that there is something wrong,” Vettel said.
“All the steps that we did, they seemed to make sense, but looking back they didn’t. Clearly, there was something we missed and we haven’t understood, yet, why and where the error exactly took off or started.”
Vettel finished fourth at the US Grand Prix, despite several big issues.Source:Getty Images
He added that other mistakes, including team strategy errors, had helped to disguise the basic problems in the upgrades on the cars.
But Vettel added that his own mistakes did not help.
“I have no problem admitting the mistakes I’ve done,” he said. “There were some things that happened to us that didn’t help, but the crucial bit has been that for a big part of the season we didn’t have the speed to be there.”
— with AFP
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