Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2018

Rosberg: Too much self-confidence behind Vettel’s mistakes

2018 F1 season

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Nico Rosberg says Sebastian Vettel’s championship bid has faltered due to his mistakes and Ferrari’s reluctance to use team orders.

Vettel can only win the championship if he wins all three remaining races with Lewis Hamilton scoring no more than four points.

Rosberg, who beat Hamilton to the 2016 world championship before retiring, told the official F1 website Vettel’s championship bid “hasn’t gone very well for him.”

“It’s all about consistency and he’s done the opposite. He’s been all over the place, really, in the last couple of months. Him and the team both together. It’s been so one-sided since the summer it’s unbelievable.

“It was seemingly going to be Vettel who would take the championship and it’s just gone completely one direction, been total dominance, since. And just as a result of mistakes. And you’re never going to beat Lewis like that because Lewis doesn’t make mistakes. Very few.”

Vettel suffered costly spins early in the races at Monza, Suzuka and the Circuit of the Americas after clashes with three different rivals. Rosberg said this showed Vettel was too reluctant to back down.

“It’s difficult to understand because you have to remember he’s a four-times world champion who’s done incredible performances. So I’m not really sure.

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“For me sometimes he wants too much in the moment always and can’t think about the long game. He’s also a little bit too self-confident sometimes. Which means he doesn’t accept when someone else has, in that moment, maybe done a better job. You need to kind of accept, take a step back, [say] ‘yep, the other guy’s better in this moment and I’ll get him back again a little but further down the road’.

“Somehow there’s a little bit of that in there. But it’s a strange one. I’m sure he can do a lot better than he’s done in the last couple of months because he is one of the best drivers out there but he has not been showing that in recent months.”

Rosberg added it seemed “really strange” to him that Ferrari didn’t use team orders to help Vettel at Suzuka when Mercedes had done so one week earlier in Russia to help Hamilton.

“Kimi [was] fifth, Sebastian sixth. Why the hell didn’t they swap? This is the championship fight, needing every single point out there to somehow keep this thing alive, why didn’t they swap?

“Seriously, I was wondering what on earth is going wrong, what is the reason, it’s fifth and sixth place, swap the damn cars around. After all we’ve seen from Mercedes, and give Sebastian two points extra. Two points, he needs those. Like, crazy. Who’s going to explain that to me?

“That I don’t understand at all. But that is maybe a little indication of a bigger problem and that maybe has unsettled Sebastian and doesn’t understand why he doesn’t get more support.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Rosberg: Too much self-confidence behind Vettel’s mistakes”

  1. Another “UPS” moment sponsored by DHL

  2. I agree with him in principle although I don’t really understand the questioning towards Ferrari not swapping their drivers in the Japanese GP. Yes, they finished in successive positions, but the gap between them was around 40 seconds, so it would’ve been rather difficult to swap them just like that anymore.

    1. Really?

      Come on…. Nico needed four qualifying issues, a solid DNF to his competitor following a back of the grid start for a new engine yet still won fewer races, qualified further down the grid and had more drivers points on his licence than anyone else that year. He really really needed two points because all that gifted luck only won him a championship by five points.

      He simply cannot compare his late races and a wish for a couple of points with the deficit Seb has.

      Seb has had a better faster and more able car for the best part of 2/3 of the season and finds himself 70 points behind mainly through his own driving issues. That is absolutely unforgivable frankly. Nico could cruise in third for the last four races and no one could get between him and his competitor. Seb not so much. He requires a completely different situation to the one Nico found himself in thanks to a large slice of luck. He needs to win and compete. Not cruise.

      Seb while folding the last couple of years has the opposite end of the stick and advice from a guy that chose not to compete after such luck must be fairly galling, I weirdly find myself feeling a bit sorry for Seb at the moment.

      At least he hung around and carried on competing.

      Unlike some.

  3. It was seemingly going to be Vettel who would take the championship and it’s just gone completely one direction, been total dominance, since. And just as a result of mistakes. And you’re never going to beat Lewis like that because Lewis doesn’t make mistakes. Very few.

    At the start of this season I was certain that by the time we got to this part of the year we were going to see Ferrari first and Mercedes second in the WCC, but it is Mercedes first and Ferrari second.
    Winning the World Constructors’ Championship is all about consistency, and Lewis has been more consistent than Sebastian. It wasn’t until the French GP when Lewis really took control of this season. From then, apart from the retirement at the Austrian GP, Lewis’ worst result has been a third place, which was last week. Every time Sebastian won from the French GP on, Lewis was one place behind in second, minimising the damage to his WDC hopes.
    When, Lewis retired from the Austrian GP you would think this was a golden opportunity for Sebastian to get a 25 point advantage over Lewis, but Sebastian came third. Instead it was Max who won that race and Kimi who came second, meaning Sebastian walked away from that weekend with a 15 point gain compared to Lewis. Compare that to when Sebastian retired from the German GP, then Lewis finished first, so he got a clean 25 point advantage over Sebastian that weekend.

  4. Ferrari’s reluctance to use team orders??
    What are Ferrari to do when Vettel spins his car or crashes into someone and falls far behind.
    Ferrari have always used team orders. They would have done so in Germany and also Monza, but Vettel was too impatient.
    If you watched, I think Bahrain, Ferrari used Kimi to sandwich Bottas untli Vettel could catch up and pass.
    And Kimi has been asked to let Vettel past several times. I just think Rosberg has been mixing too much with the TV people and has forgotten how F1 works.

    1. They would have done so in Germany and also Monza, but Vettel was too impatient.

      Except they didn’t in Germany and had Vettel stuck behind Kimi for several laps, which could very well have been a factor in the race-ending error because I think Vettel would’ve tippy-toed through the Sachskurve had he had an advantage of ~20 seconds which he could’ve had if Räikkönen had been treated like Bottas. And in Monza, Vettel should’ve been put behind Kimi for the slipstream in qualfiying. Rosberg is clearly smarter than you are in his analysis of the situation.

  5. “Too confident” says Rosberg. “Too tentative” says Palmer. I’m staying out of it, I guess either could cause what we see, but tiny differences are all the difference at the sharp end, and mix in a bit of luck and a few wobbly moments and you’re done for, at least when Hamilton is on his game. And he really is this year.

    1. Kind of both, he goes for a risky pass, but Palmer reckons he’s too tentative and is already steering into the corner heavily so when he makes contact with the other car, even slight, the lock is on and he spins round. If he was more confident in the actual driving, rather than being (over)confident about the idea, he’d hit the other car more heavily and be the one shoving the other car round. Something like that anyhow. Though Palmer’s advice should maybe come with the warning *don’t try this at home if you need 25 points or its over*.

    2. Sorry forgot the tag @picasso-19d-ftw

      1. @david-br :-) Plenty of reasons for caution around Palmer’s advice, I think, much as I appreciate the self-effacing use of his own error by way of an example

  6. I think Ferrari considered switching the cars in Suzuka, because Raikkonen slowed significantly towards the end… he looked settled 20s down on Hamilton, then suddenly lost an extra 18s in the final seven laps. Like he’d been told to prepare for letting Vettel through.

    But in the end (I guess) they decided it wasn’t worth it. If Vettel had been a few seconds behind they would have, but he didn’t get closer than 30s despite how much Raikkonen slowed.

  7. Why would there be any sympathy/advantage for the driver who spins and loses time and points?

  8. I have to say I don’t really like what rosberg did during his f1 career, as in 2016 hamilton might not have been the best driver, this is a hypothetical due to car differential, but surely rosberg was NOT the best driver, hamilton was at least better than him and we can compare them perfectly since they had the same car.

    However in general he makes good comments, so he’s a better commentator than a driver basically, he makes a good example, that vettel goes all in the first lap instead of waiting till another opportunity presents, which is exactly what raikkonen did at monza: he wasn’t fighting for the title but he let hamilton through and then got past him again in the same lap.

    A thing I totally disagree though is letting vettel past raikkonen, when he was 40 sec behind, in suzuka: what’s the point? It’ll be that I’m someone who likes maths, statistics etc., but he does nothing with 2 more points, why annoying raikkonen who could still give troubles to mercedes in the last races, as it happened he did in austin, and you know those team orders demotivate a driver like raikkonen especially, for 2 points? Especially when you are almost 70 behind, it’s pointless, the championship won’t be that close, nowhere near.

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