Sebastian Vettel has been having a difficult run, stretching right from the 2018 F1 season. Come 2019, things have only got worse for him, and this time, his teammate won’t give way, no questions asked.
In the wake of winning his 4th consecutive title, Sebastian Vettel was joined by a new team-mate at Red Bull. Following the departure/retirement of Mark Webber, he was replaced by compatriot, Daniel Ricciardo. The younger Australian had just been promoted from junior squad Toro Rosso to partner Vettel.
That year, Ricciardo won three races and upstaged Vettel in the championship standings. He racked up 238 points compared to Vettel’s 167, which saw the latter end up fifth. Five years later, and it is deja vu as Sebastian Vettel being upstaged yet again.
This time, Vettel is clad in the scarlet overalls of the Ferrari, and the new young pretender is Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque driver followed a path similar to Ricciardo stepping up from a junior team.
Since then, he has gone on to raise plenty of eyebrows with two race wins for Ferrari under his belt. Meanwhile, the German has yet to open his account and has already been overtaken by Leclerc in the standings.
“To a certain extent, Sebastian is experiencing what he felt at Red Bull in his final year there, in 2014, when he found himself up against Daniel Ricciardo, a youngster setting incredible pace,” observed F1 managing director Ross Brawn.
“What happened in the race was down to him alone. It’s an unavoidable fact that no matter who the driver is and regardless of how good things are in the team, your first rival is always your team-mate.”
Brawn reckons Vettel will require the support of his team to pull through a difficult period, which has also seen him make some very basic mistakes.
He continued, “Vettel is clearly one of the greats of our sport, but at this tough time he really needs the support of the team to regain the confidence he seems to be lacking at the moment.
“That, as well as pushing on with the car development, has to be a priority for [team principal] Mattia Binotto in the coming weeks. It won’t be easy, but it is essential especially in terms of 2020.”