Aston Martin-star Sebastian Vettel is being harshly criticised after his rear-end collision and 15th place at the Formula 1 opener in Bahrain. Ralf Schumacher nevertheless continues to believe in him.
Formula 1 can be cruel. Whoever wins is the hero. Whoever loses is the zero. Nowhere is performance judged under the magnifying glass as much as in the top class of motorsport. Sebastian Vettel (33) is currently experiencing this. The German has reached the lowest point of his career.
Instead of blossoming after the switch from Ferrari to Aston Martin, the man from Heppenheim drove far below his former level at the start of the season in Bahrain. The sad highlight: a rear-end collision with Esteban Ocon.
Since then, the experts have been falling over the German. Just one example: “I think something has to happen mentally. Maybe he should visit an esoteric who dispels an evil spirit or something,” says ex-champion Damon Hill. “It seems to me he’s balancing on tiptoes mentally. But Formula One is like rugby: you can’t go into a duel half-hearted.”
Vettel himself admits that he does not yet feel “at home” in his new Aston Martin called Honey Ryder. “There are a lot of things fighting against me so I can’t really concentrate on driving.” But what exactly does the German mean? He doesn’t want to reveal that. Just this: “There are still so many things that break the rhythm and make it quite difficult to feel the car or to feel what I need to drive fast.” That is why he is currently operating in his Aston Martin at not even 50 per cent, but rather “still under half”.
According to Ralf Schumacher, Vettel should not let this demotivate himself now. Speaking to F1-Insider.com, Schumacher said. “He has to step on the gas now. The whining has to stop, that he doesn’t feel the car. Nobody cares about that, after all, we’re in Formula 1 here and he’s also earning a lot of money.”
Schumi II stresses: “At the end of the day, Sebastian is an experienced racing driver and a multiple world champion. Life is not a pony farm. He has to beat his team-mate now. The rest will come by itself. Even if the Aston Martin doesn’t turn into a winning car this year.”
Schumacher’s advice to Vettel. “He should just sit in the car and have fun. Maybe he should drop all his other new interests – he’s gone very green recently – buckle up and just have fun driving. He has the talent and he can do it. The pressure from outside is immense, he has to block it out.” The important thing at the upcoming race in Imola is to finally have a “normal weekend” again.
Schumacher continued: “I understand Sebastian’s frustration. He wanted things to be different and had anything but an easy weekend. Nevertheless, you have to clarify the question why he sometimes misjudges the distance to the car in front.”
About the AMR21, the Sky expert says: “You can’t turn a cow into a tiger overnight. The concept last year was – I call it cautiously – perhaps not completely developed by Racing Point itself (background: the Racing Point of 2020 strongly resembled the Mercedes; ed.). Mercedes also has a problem and until something a solution arrives at Aston Martin, they will have to be patient.”
Aston Martin team boss Otmar Szafnauer, like Ralf Schumacher, has by no means written off Vettel yet. “He’s driving a completely different car now than before. It’s simply still very fresh.” The problems on the opening weekend with a penalty for disregarding yellow flags had not helped the Hessian either. The US-American: “It seemed like only he got all the problems. But I am still confident that he will get the corner. He started from the very back of the field and made good progress, then felt comfortable in the car. That’s positive. Sebastian is on a good path.”
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
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