Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2018

Vettel “over-performed at the beginning of the season”

2018 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel was under pressure to deliver the Formula 1 championship because he “over-performed” early in the season, according to some of his rivals.

The Ferrari driver has come under fire for a string of mistakes in the second half of the season which have all-but ended his chances of winning the championship.

Force India’s Sergio Perez suggested Vettel’s mistakes were prompted by desperation to hold on to his championship chances.

“I think Sebastian is a fantastic driver,” said Perez in today’s FIA press conference. “It’s very hard to judge the performance from someone when you’re not in the team and you don’t know exactly what’s going on. It makes no sense for me to say.

“Obviously we’ve seen some mistakes. Probably in the end he was a bit desperate, tried to achieve what probably was not possible.

“But he’s a four-time world champion for that reason so he has a great team so I think he will be back to fight again. He had a great opportunity to fight Lewis [Hamilton], Mercedes also have a fantastic car so it was very hard for him.”

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Pierre Gasly, who will join Red Bull for the 2019 F1 season, said Vettel’s results early in the season flattered how competitive Ferrari were.

“I think probably he over-performed with the car at the beginning of the season,” said Gasly. “A couple of times he managed to win races that 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 and when you’re fighting for the championship just so much at the limit all the time.

“He tried to achieve things, as Sergio said, [that] probably [were] not achievable with the car he had a couple of times and things happened. He’s a four-times 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 to that question.”

Vettel’s team mate Kimi Raikkonen backed him to rebound from a tough string of races.

“It’s one of those things. sometimes it happens, sometimes you get it wrong. Unfortunately it happened to him a few times but I think we’ll come through it. It’s part of the game.”

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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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12 comments on “Vettel “over-performed at the beginning of the season””

  1. Good points.

  2. There’s something in that. At least Vettel performed well early in the season, not sure if ‘over-performed’ is right, unless that’s in qualifying. The races he won when he shouldn’t were down to Mercedes strategy errors. Hamilton, on the other hand, seems to have his seasons planned now so that he doesn’t worry to much about a slower start and stays focused on hitting his best form after Spa. He also rides the bad weekends better. That’s surely down to confidence, though, having won three titles for his team already, while Vettel faces huge expectations at Ferrari.

    1. Well said @david-br; one could speculate that the Q3 mishaps Raikkonen had at the start of the season weren’t mishaps but instead due to the car not really being there, and that would then indeed imply that Vettel overperformed there in getting pole, or a clearly better starting position. I am not quite so sure about that either, but who knows (from the outside). An addition: it was a combination of strategy, and Mercedes not being on top of their tyres (or were those races Vettel should and did win then?), I think?

      Regardless, it is probably true that it is easier to have to chase if you can be confident in your team to pick up their pace through the year from previous experience, rather than hang on to a lead if you – and they – fear they cannot sustain their slightly better pace over their competition, giving a feeling of perpetually being on borrowed time/lead.

      1. @bosyber True, in a way both Vettel and Ferrari have been their own worst enemies, Vettel risking too much in his wheel-to-wheel racing, Ferrari introducing ‘upgrades’ that apparently only downgraded the car. If both had eased off a bit, they’d probably be level or ahead now in the WDC.

  3. Does “over deliver” mean to not crash into people? What a load of bullcrap this is, he got lucky in Australia and Merc made plenty of mistakes, but none of that has anything to do with his constant collisions with competitors this year or throughout his career.

  4. This is a strange ‘article’. There are only a couple of speculative quotes from Perez and Gasly (who looks up to Vettel) to support the headline. Kimi hardly said anything specific at all.

    And Kimi just won the US GP after Ferrari ‘removed 4 months of upgrades’. So to me, the evidence is that the Ferrari is a good car and in the right hands should be closer to the championship then Vettel has managed.

    1. Would it be fair to say that 4 months ago, Ferrari looked they had a car capable of winning championships, if they’d had that car for the last 4 months, maybe Ferrari drivers would be higher in the championship

  5. So Vettel over-performed because he wasn’t crashing into people or beaching his car? By that measure Maldonado was world-class…until he wasn’t

  6. Vettel until Britain was better than Lewis until Britain. Then things changed due to luck (rain in Hungary) and of course mistakes. I am sure he can go for it next year.

    Undoubtedly though his Bahrain was amazing given the state of his tyres and his pace on track.

    1. Rain affects everybody the same. There is no ‘luck’ in being better than somebody else in wet conditions.

      1. Michal Kalinowski
        26th October 2018, 1:51

        Yes there is….. slick tyres and water, at some point laws of phyics come into play.

  7. Or Mercedes underperformed all season, operating on the premise that they have had the best car all season.


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