Monday 02 December 2019
The season finale of Formula 1 is disappointing for Vettel, as well as for the entire season. The 32-year-old is no longer the undisputed number one Ferrari. Instead of fighting for the title with Hamilton, the German worries about not getting out of sight.
"I did great races with Valtteri [Bottas], Max [Verstappen] and Charles [Leclerc]." Lewis Hamilton declared after his victory at the Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi. And involuntarily betrayed him more than a pilot whose name he had not named. Because the old and the new world champion in the list of his most difficult competitors gave up Sebastian Vettel summed up the German driver's year in Ferrari services better than the 32-year-old should be sympathetic. While Hamilton celebrated his sixth world title, Vettel was fifth in fifth place in the standings as he has not been since 2014 – and therefore not in the spotlight, but under "driven away".
"It wasn't a great year for me and, honestly, I'm glad it's over," Vettel said after finishing fifth at the Yas Marina circuit. Behind Hamilton, Verstappen, Leclerc and Bottas, who are also in the World Cup standings before Vettel. The "became increasingly insignificant during the race", wrote the Spanish magazine "Sport" for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
"I didn't do what I can do", explained the Ferrari driver, who should actually bring the long-awaited title for the traditional Italian team. However, at the moment it is not even clear whether it will remain with Ferrari beyond its contract expiring at the end of 2020.
Only 13 out of 19, then 14 out of 120
"Sebastian Vettel has to press the reset button in the new year", summarized the Spanish sports newspaper "AS". Charles Leclerc, who is ten years younger, presented himself too strong in his first season in a victorious car, too many mistakes were made by Vettel. Symbolic of Ferrari's home race: the 22-year-old Monegasse went from pole to victory, while Vettel first abandoned the track, then retired on the return of a penalty time and eventually rolled as thirteenth out of the finish line. The Fans immersed the National Autodrome in Italian national colors and celebrated Leclerc, while Vettel's surrender remained only three penalties in the Fia World Federation's sinner card.
His most recent title is now six years ago. At that time, in 2013 and still in Red Bull, Vettel won 13 of 19 races and set Michael Schumacher's record for most victories in a season. Since then, only 14 additional successes have arrived in 120 World Cup races. Too little for the German, who, after four titles in a row, did not have the courage to attack the unassailable Schumacher record of seven world championships in the premier class of motorsport.
Hamilton did what many Vettels have dared to do
Meanwhile, this record is shaking. Vettel has little to do with this. Lewis Hamilton replaced him with the introduction of turbo engines in 2014 as the series winner, he also changed the Vettel gearbox to Ferrari for the 2015 season nothing. While Hamilton will leave in the spring to set up the Formula 1 crown for the seventh time, he threatens the Germans to deteriorate. His status number 1 at Ferrari falters questionably. In the nine races after the summer break Leclerc collected 132 points, Vettel only 84.
If this trend continues, Vettel threatens the end to Ferrari. And at the same time apparently Hamilton's new replacement. Because the British contract ends after next season – and is flirting with the first record to set Schumacher's record and then switch to Ferrari. Being the first driver to be world champion for the eighth time?
At least the Italians have probably already felt in front of the current ruler of Formula 1, even if Mercedes is very happy. However, it would be simply negligent for both parties not to consider the option for a common future at least once. For 2020, however, Ferrari relies on Sebastian Vettel. It's up to him to be at the forefront of excellence next season. Alone so that Lewis Hamilton will not forget it.