F1: Drivers defend Vettel as outperforming Ferrari
Sergio Perez believes Sebastian Vettel’s recent errors have been a result of the German getting “desperate” as his title hopes were slipping away.
Vettel spun when fighting with Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap in Monza, and then suffered the same result in similar incidents with Max Verstappen in Japan and Daniel Ricciardo last weekend in Austin. Perez defended Vettel’s pedigree and believes the recent incidents have been a result of having to overdrive in a less competitive car compared to the Mercedes.
“I think Sebastian is a fantastic driver,” Perez said. “It’s very hard to judge the performance of someone when you’re not in the team and you don’t know exactly what’s going on. So it makes no sense for me to say.
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“Obviously we have seen some mistakes. Probably at the end he was just desperate, trying to achieve what was probably not possible, but he’s a four-time World Champion for that reason so he has a great team and he will be back to fight again and he has a great opportunity to fight Lewis. Mercedes also have a fantastic car so it was very hard for him.”
Pierre Gasly agreed, suggesting Vettel was even outperforming the Ferrari earlier in the season when he opened up a championship lead.
“I think it’s part of racing,” Gasly said. “You’re always driving at the limit. I think he probably overperformed with the car he had at the beginning of the season. A couple of times he managed to win races which they probably didn’t have the potential to win and then of course, expectations were really high.
“He did a couple of mistakes in the second part of the season. I think he’s the only one who could answer why. When you’re fighting for the championship, you’re so much on the limit all the time, trying to achieve things, as Sergio said, was probably not achievable with the car he had a couple of times and then things happen.
“They all say he’s a four-time World Champion, I think he knows how to manage a championship. It’s not the first time he’s in this position but he’s the only one who could answer that question.”
Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen added mistakes are simply a byproduct of pushing to the limit, something all drivers have to deal with.
“Well the first thing is that sometimes it happens and he pushes and pushes and sometimes he gets it wrong and unfortunately it happened to him a few times,” Raikkonen said. “I think we’ve all gone through it, it’s part of the game.”
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ABOUT CHRIS MEDLAND
While studying Sports Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, Chris managed to talk his way into working at the British Grand Prix in 2008 and was retained for three years before joining ESPN F1 as Assistant Editor. After three years at ESPN, a spell as F1 Editor at Crash Media Group was followed by the major task of launching F1i.com’s English-language website and running it as Editor. Present at every race since the start of 2014, he has continued building his freelance portfolio, working with international titles. As well as writing for RACER, he contributes to BBC 5Live and Sky Sports in the UK as well as working with titles in Japan and the Middle East.