“It is a measure of Lewis Hamilton’s total mastery of the track that Sebastian Vettel has been reduced to the type of self-damaging, gung-ho gamble that practically gift-wrapped the world title for the Briton here on Sunday,” said the Daily Mail.
“It was his seventh mistake of an increasingly erratic campaign which has unravelled since the summer break.” Said The Daily Telegraph.
“another spectacular example of just how Vettel crumbles under the pressure”, describing the move as “ridiculous” said The Sun.
“Vettel only has himself to blame for that mistake,” said Paul Di Resta. “He’s throwing the championship away at exactly the same point it all went wrong last year.”
As we discussed on yesterday’s Japanese Grand Prix review podcast, Vettel’s difficulties this year are not as simple as saying he’s making errors and throwing away a title. There is more at play here and to suggest that, marginalizes just how epic the effort from Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have been in 2018.
Sebastian’s move on Verstappen on Sunday was, perhaps, not the best place to attempt a pass on a driver like Max but time was essential and Seb couldn’t trundle around behind Max for 13 more laps waiting for him to serve his penalty. Hi fight wasn’t with Max, he had to get up front to take on Lewis. Getting past Max had to happen and it had to happen quickly.
With all of the criticism from the press, Lewis Hamilton has come to the defense of Sebastian on Instagram.
“I feel the media need to show a little more respect for Sebastian. You simply cannot imagine how hard it is to do what we do at our level, for any athlete at the top of their game that is. It is to be expected that being humans we will make mistakes but it is how we get through them that counts.”
Lewis, of all people, knows what it feels like trying to get something out of a car that isn’t quite capable of performing at the level your rivals are performing. You push the envelope, take risks and try to produce results that are beyond the car’s begrudging temperament.
As I said on the podcast, I’m a Ferrari fan but I am certainly not trying to be an apologist for Vettel. There have been moments of frustration that have led to errors but in the end, I think he’s trying very hard to produce results that the car has little interest in delivering. The expectations are high and one might look at Alonso’s time there as well as Kimi’s to see that Ferrari haven’t been in rude health for some time—since 2007 to be exact—and Seb is trying hard (perhaps too hard at times) to reverse the team’s course.