Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Paul Ricard, 2019

Vettel mystified by slump to seventh in qualifying

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel admitted he couldn’t understand his loss of performance in the top 10 shoot-out in qualifying.

What they say

I don’t know why I missed the upshift and then I lost so much momentum but it was pointless to finish the lap so I aborted.

But then on the last lap, I don’t know, I just couldn’t feel the same car that I had in parts of qualifying, other parts of qualifying. So I’m not happy not being able to extract the maximum today. That’s why I think we’ve also not qualified where we should be.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Colton Herta, IndyCar, Road America, 2019
Colton Herta, IndyCar, Road America, 2019

IndyCar rookie Colton Herta pipped Alexander Rossi to take pole position for today’s race at Road America.

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Comment of the day

Witan is unimpressed with the histrionics around Sebastian Vettel’s Canadian Grand Prix penalty:

Can we please have some adults take control, enforce a respect for the rules and for the referees. If a decisions seems wrong first, go and kick a wall in private until you have calmed down and then make a proper appeal, act honourably and shut up and take it, don’t behave like a two-year-old in a tantrum or stand up and trash the system and rule book.

If it seems a rule is wrong, work to have it changed in a sensible and polite manner and not talk crazy stuff about burning the whole rule book or drivers policing other drivers without any formal rules.

F1 is a great sport. I love it. When a race is on it makes my weekend. But it is not a lack of freedom for drivers that will destroy it but the hedonism of many of the participants and the lack of commonsense throughout the circus. When they bang on about ‘the show’ the more of a circus it becomes.

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On this day in F1

  • 45 years ago today Niki Lauda dominated the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, leading team mate Clay Regazzoni in a Ferrari one-two

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  • 58 comments on “Vettel mystified by slump to seventh in qualifying”

    1. RE: COTD

      I agree. I’ll add, that when I screw things up, I do my best to shut up and not do it again. Carrying on, blaming others, and drawing attention doesn’t help. I’d be worried if I was making 40 million a year but consistently underperforming.

      Ferrari, and especially Vettel, needed to move on and focus on the French GP. So far they have drawn this weekend into last races fiasco.

    2. Ferrari probably told him he can’t keep blaming the car

      1. 1991 is on the phone…

        1. Prost and Alonso made a call.

      2. This comment is so uninformed. Vettel is the guy who extremely rarely blames anyone but himself. Never talks the team down in interviews or anywhere. Always accept resposibility.

        1. Was…was that sarcasm? Pardon me:) but it’s been getting difficult to finesse lately, in the face of the current Ferrari-Vettel fubar that F1 commentary has devolved into…

          1. It clearly is. I don‘t think, I‘ve ever witnessed, in 30 years of watching, any other driver who constantly blamed everyone but himself for his own mistakes. It‘s one of Vettel‘s defining characteristics.

        2. Yeah.. Sure.. Tell that to Charlie after he was dropped an f bomb by Sebastian.

          No one throws a tantrum like Sebastian.

    3. Damn it Seb – you’re got to come up with a better explanation that that! If Ferrari doesn’t get a good driver in that seat Hamilton will at least tie and break Schuey’s record 7 WDC”s.
      He needs to be fired now, not at the end of the year but that won’t happen! His performance at Ferrari has been dismal. So many spin outs and mistakes. Last year was Red’s chance to beat Merc and they blew it yet again.
      I think RIC should be in his seat. He’s Italian and he’s damn good. Yeah I know, VER is faster but he brings baggage – mainly pappa and Ferrari has another young star who needs a veteran to guide him.
      Ferrari has had too much patience with him IMO. Between his poor driving and child like behavior, he needs to either hang it up find another series.
      There are too many driver’s who could do better.

      1. I like the idea of Ric in that seat, I’m sure he would be a better option than Vettel at the moment. Ver & Pappa are a good fit for RBH, though I can’t help but feel if they’d waited it out with Renault they would’ve been in a much better position to take the fight to Merc. Dan & Leclerc in Ferrari’s against Vettel & Ves in RBRs… in a multiverse somewhere maybe it’s happening.

      2. If max leaves red bull he’s gonna follow the same path of vettel. Red bull like to build up stars but once that star leaves to another team that doesn’t favor them over their teammates their skills start showing like with vettel at Ferrari

    4. Last thing i’ll say in relation to the Montreal penalty is that the talk of there been too many rules & over-regulation in terms of governing racing/racecraft etc… reminds me in a way of ‘no blocking’ rule that Champcar introduced which transitioned into Indycar when the series merged.

      I forget what led to it’s creation (Maybe one of the dozen Paul Tracy/Sebastian Bourdais arguments) but in 2006/2007 they decided that any deviation from the racing line to defend your position would be considered blocking & that you would either be told to let the car you ‘blocked’ past or given a drive thru penalty depending on the severity. They even took to painting white lines on the circuits at one point to help judge things.

      That (ridiculous) rule resulted in some good bits of hard racing resulting in penalties. Robert Doornbos at Cleveland in 2007 for instance. He moved to defend against Graham Rahal & squeezed him a bit but ultimately left a bit more than a cars width & many saw it as just good/hard racing. However because he was off the racing line defending he was given a drive thru.

      Eventually it led to a late race restart at Edmonton in 2010 where Helio Castroneves lost a win because of something pretty much everyone felt was a ridiculous penalty:

      Like the Vettel/Lewis penalty in Montreal 2 weeks ago it was technically the correct call by the letter of the rule been looked at but like in F1 now there was a feeling that the regulating had gone too far & that they were hindering the racing. And as a result the ‘no blocking’ rule was altered to allow them more freedom to race, Similar to F1 there now allowed one move to defend.

      I hope that like with Indycar in 2010 F1 can take a look of the regulations & not necessarily throw them all out but change them so that there’s more room for common sense to be used. And maybe like Indycar they should look at having a permanent set of stewards & Include more than 1 driver (Indycar have 2 former drivers with Arie Luyendyk & Max Papis).

      1. @stefmeister Sorry, still don’t get it. Vettel wasn’t racing, he went off track, lost control, and by his own argument (and Ferrari’s) never recovered it before Hamilton was forced into evasive action. How is that ‘racing’? It’s neither hard racing, or good racing, it’s recovery from a mistake.

        1. Exactly correct, vettel lost all right to defend his position the moment he went off track. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the rules, other than that they are not enforced enough.

          1. @megatron Couldn’t disagree more and thank goodness you’re not in charge. It was a racing incident and the last thing we need is more racing via boardroom.

        2. @david-br @megatron Disagree—this is exactly what strikes me as overregulation.

          I like natural track limits and as little intervention as possible from the stewards so the action emerges as organically as possible from the physical environment—not a pitch-and-lines approach where violating painted lines cancels legal rights and entitles other drivers. In this case, the natural track limits (the grass) worked. Vettel made a mistake, lost several tenths, nearly lost the car and nearly lost the race. Why is there a need for anything else?

          1. For when the track limits don’t work, or when a driver willfully creates a potentially race-ending situation for opponents – that’s why there’s a need for rules.

            Striking that sweet spot in regulation that lets drivers race freely while accounting for occasional error (or idiocy :) ) is surely what everyone wants, but I find it risible that all of a sudden Formula 1 is this commonsense high-octane sport that can be run safely under free-for-all conditions, merely because it would be to a favorite driver’s advantage.

            In this case, the rules did their job. Grind your teeth if you have to, file away coherent suggestions for a rules change – absolutely, but for heaven’s sake cut it out with the whingeing and whining. It’s getting embarrassing now.

          2. @markzastrow
            He nearly took Hamilton out and thats about all. Vettel lost nothing.

          3. @rethla False, he lost six tenths of a second.

            And if Hamilton had had the luck to pick the right side, he would have gotten past.

        3. @david-br It was a ‘Racing incident’ & I don’t think it should have been a penalty & neither do a majority of the other drivers who I think are in a far better position to know what’s racing, what’s unsafe/dangerous & what it’s like to be in Vettel & Hamilton’s position.

          Something I’ve seen a lot of Ex/Current drivers say since Montreal is that Hamilton would have known where Vettel’s car was going to end up when he came back on & that he was optimistic when he tried to put his car into a gap that was always going to close.

          But I guess those that actually drive the cars don’t know anything right?

          1. @roger-ayles

            But I guess those that actually drive the cars don’t know anything right?

            Less than the former drivers with the data and the job to interpret the regulations that the teams and drivers asked, repeatedly, over years, to be applied with consistency, don’t you think? Hamilton called it correctly, Vettel rejoined unsafely and blocked him, pushing him off track. Hence the penalty.

            1. Sky, the current non-Merc drivers, ex-drivers, most pundits and most non-Lewis fans agree with you. Don’t take a UK site’s readers views as that of the general overall view. The majority of comments on here are always extremely bias in recent years.

            2. @petebaldwin, at the same time, do you think that those ex-drivers or pundits would be bothering to the defence of a midfield driver who was penalised in the same way, particularly if that driver had previously been painted in a negative light by those same pundits?

              It feels like the way this is being pushed means it’s not really about the penalty any more – in some ways, it feels more like a play for political capital at a time when Ferrari is in negotiations with Liberty Media over future revenue splits and the cost cap measures. By being able to demonstrate how much leverage and clout they have with the media and the fan base, it definitely helps serve their narrative of how important they are to the sport and how Liberty Media should be keeping them sweet.

      2. Villeneuve – Arnoux would have been fine under the current regulations. At the time I thought it was harsh, but on reflection it was the right call for the reasons Palmer makes in his analysis.

        Vettel is acting just as much as a child as he was during the multi 21 days, it was embarrassing when he changed the 1st and 2nd signs. Ferrari needed to focus on this race and not let emotions get the better of them.

      3. @stefmeister

        reminds me in a way of ‘no blocking’ rule …
        That (ridiculous) rule resulted in some good bits of hard racing resulting in penalties.

        Yet that rule also created a lot more battles which otherwise never would have been.

        Imagine if Vettel had played fairly in Canada. Vettel and Hamilton would have been side by side. ie an actual battle for position would have ensued. Instead Vettel blocked Hamilton and ruined that battle and ultimately the race. The penalty didn’t. Vettel did.

        Same with Ricciardo blocking Bottas on the straight. Bottas had to brake out of contact instead of initiating a fight for position.

        These rules are not there to ruin racing or penalize normal “hard racing”. They are there to penalize dirty tricks and to actually allow drivers to race, knowing they won’t simply be crashed off track when they attempt an overtake.

        We want more battles on track, but you only get that when dirty blocking moves are reduced.

      4. @stefmeister, the thing is, the FIA has actually tried the idea of having a fixed stewarding panel in the past – the problem was, the teams then started arguing about whom that should be and tried to find ways to influence who should be on the panel in the hope that they could find somebody who was more favourable to them. The teams might want consistent decision making, so long as those decisions are consistently favourable to them.

    5. Colton Herta is seriously Impressive for a 19 year old! I’d love to see what he could do in an F1 car one day…

      1. Indeed, amazing Q lap at Elkhart Lake, a real race track, not a painted parking lot.

      2. Indeed, I managed to get a stream of quali it was great to watch. Those cars seem amazingly fast and exciting from the onboards, partly due to the twitchy nature of the short wheelbase. Take note F1.

        1. John H, the thing is, IndyCars are still pretty big cars – the wheelbase is approximately 3m in length, with the entire car being over 5m in length, so by historical standards those cars are not exactly small.

        2. It’s amazing seeing them go through Canada Corner (I think… the long one when they have to get on the throttle early and not run wide into the grass)

          You can really see it’s a test of bravery because if you get on the grass, you’re in big trouble as opposed to just running wide on some tarmac and carrying on.

    6. The simple reason he is in 7th is that he failed to put in a decent time … sorry Seb but just man up and admit you were not on the ball in quali.

      1. I think it’s as simple as that, especially seeing where Leclerc qualified, and Vettel’s times in other parts of quali.

        I think there might have been an element of complacency that his Ferrari power might keep him in the top 5 or so (beating one or both RBRs) even with a sloppy Q3, not expecting the McLarens to slip in amongst them.

        1. It is but it isn’t.

          I’m not sure just what has gone wrong for Seb, whether it’s between the left and right ear or whether it’s machinery but he’s a far cry from the almost robot like driver he used to be.

          He’s never seemed to have properly adjusted to the hybrid era and hasn’t really shown the skill he used to have pre 2014. To go from being that good to as poor as he’s doing now is really a bit of a tragedy. One wonders whether he needs better team management around him to get his head right rather than the prone to panic Ferrari style of doing things.

          I’m hoping he finshes the season with a few really good performances and retires gracefully rather than end up a mere shadow of the driver he once was.

          1. I think that’s it, basically he’s had one good season at Ferrari and a raft of mediocre ones. The exact opposite of his Tim at Red Bull.

          2. I 100% agree. I don’t want Seb, or Vettel, I want Sebastian Vettel back… all of him. It’s uncomfortable watching him at the moment. He thrived under Red Bull’s nuturing, and I think that support is lacking in Ferrari. I really hope he can turn his performances around.

          3. @dbradock Vettel was the same in 2009. He crashed into Kubica in Australia, then spun off the next race in Malaysia and put it in the barriers in Monaco. In Hungary he made a total hash of the race and made two dumb mistakes in Singapore.

            So already then he had 3 race ending crashes and 2 races where he blundered away many points. That’s how Button won the 2009 title (by only a few points).

            Or 2010 when he banged into Webber in Turkey and into Button in Spa? And in Silverstone where he flies off the track after the start? In China he started from pole and his race was a mess.

            etc etc etc Put him in the fastest car, alone on track and then he flies yes.
            However he’s always been highly error prone when he’s around other (competitive) cars.

            1. @f1osaurus And what about all the mistakes Hamilton made back then?

              He would have won the 2007 championship & the 2008 one a lot easier if he hadn’t made some of the mistakes he did.

              And then just look at 2011 where he made a lot of silly mistakes as he was overdriving an uncompetitive car.

            2. @roger-ayles You can’t expect a driver to have a 100% perfect season. However Vettel had 7 races blundered away in 2018. Also 2009 and 2017. Not one error but at least 5 races which he just blew it. That’s just an insane amoutn opf blunders.

              2011 he didn’t make mistakes really. He was overtaking Massa and Maldonado who insisted on crashing rather than be overtaken. I guess he could have staid behind them instead, but what’s the point of that?

    7. Who is the Ferrari ‘reserve driver’, Seb’s head’s clearly not in the right place, a few races off may be in order?

      1. @budchekov Two drivers that shouldnt be in F1, Wehrlein and Hartley.
        They can always pick up Kimi again, he will be slow as ever but also popular as ever and will let the team focus on Leclerc.

        1. Yeah I’m sure Ferrari would love to replace their best qualifier and points scorer with someone Vettel absolutely destroyed. I’m sure they’re on the phone to Kimi as we speak.

        2. Thanks Gabriel, why isn’t it Rossi, Newgarden or Herta?

    8. Too many comments from people who actually like this non-racing version of formula “1” – For me, Blue flags, forced pit stops, garbage tires, DRS, and track limits, make the whole thing a sham. As for the penalty; are they racing cars or bowling balls? And, would Vettel have gotten a penalty if Hamilton hadn’t squealed like a baby?
      And if anyone thinks that winning seven World Championships under these rules is even remotely comparable to the achievements of the real racing that I saw from the 1960’s to the early 1990’s, let alone from 1910 to 1968, then may I suggest you pour yourself a stiff drink, turn up the sound, and watch the movie; Grand Prix!

      1. ‘And, would Vettel have gotten a penalty if Hamilton hadn’t squealed like a baby?’

        Funny, there was one radio message from Hamilton to his team about Vettel’s ‘dangerous return to the track’, that was more of a statement than a complaint and don’t try and tell me that Vettel wouldn’t have done the same if positions had been reversed. I seem to remember Silverstone 2017 and Vettel complaining about Verstappen running him off the road despite having done exactly the same himself two corners earlier.

        The only person squealing like a baby was Vettel with his multiple radio messages about how ‘unfair’ it all was. And his post race antics were childish, though very entertaining.

        I’m guessing from other parts of your comment that you don’t think much of Vettel’s multiple championships either or Schumachers?

      2. @jjfrazz The rules are the same for all competitors though. So how does that matter?

        I’m sure Vettel would argue that F1 cars are bowling balls though yes. Or at leas his is and all the others are pins.

      3. @jjfrazz, why do you complain about things like blue flags when blue flag rules have been in place for longer than F1 racing has existed?

        There are contemporary accounts of blue flag rules, which meant exactly what they do today – a faster driver is coming up to lap you, let that driver through – from the pre-war Grand Prix championship, let alone the post-war F1 races. There is a famous example of Hermann Muller being repeatedly shown blue flags during the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix for blocking Hermann Lang, Rudolf Caracciola and Dick Seaman, and Muller was very heavily criticised for blocking those drivers – it was an established rule that drivers were supposed to allow the leaders through to lap them when shown a blue flag at least 80 years ago, and I believe that it was even older than that (there are accounts of even earlier road races that seem to have had the same blue flag rules).

        Those rules are known to have carried over into F1 in the post-war era, because there are again contemporary accounts of them being used – for example, the 1956 Argentinian Grand Prix saw calls for Luigi Piotti to be penalised or banned from racing because, when shown a blue flag during that race, he illogically slammed on the brakes and took Peter Collins out of the race (the driver who was trying to lap Piotti at the time).

      4. @jjfrazz Mate if it was Hamilton that got the punishment, lots of comments on here would be the opposite. If you went on an Italian F1 site, I doubt you’d find the same sort of comments!

    9. the stiffer cars seem to enjoy this track, not only the mclaren is very stiff it also looks very similar to the merc, good job by the new mclaren. zak has brought some sense of reality to the way the team works.

      1. zak has brought some sense of reality to the way the team works

        I think that, as soon as he decided to ditch Honda for Renault and then saw that it was not only the engine hampering the car’s performance, but the chassis as well, that some big changes were in demand.

        Ever since that point I think he has been making the right calls, to be honest. Allowing the contract of Alonso to run out and letting him leave on his terms, removing that pressure off the team and all the negativity that inevitably surrounded Alonso and the team’s performance. Getting James Key as a technical director was a good move, too, even if he still has to prove himself in a more demanding environment. But, to me, the best one yet was the hiring of Andreas Seidl. He led Porsche brilliantly for the past few years. And, judging from his comments from a few days ago, if he indeed has the freedom to make the changes he sees fit to McLaren’s F1 operation, I fully expect them to return to winning ways sooner than later.

        Bottom line is, they don’t seem to be rudderless anymore. And what I personally like too is that they are making less noise and going quietly about their business. That shows focus and commitment, which is a great sign for them and F1.

    10. Well, Quali was booring as hell. I dread race prospect if this goes on.

      Highway driving, with gusts of wind. Hamilton easy P1.

      Only fun one can expect is from midfield and some Vettel drama.

    11. I couldn’t agree more with the COTD.

      1. Correct! I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a display of bad sportsmanship as what Sebastian did at the end of the Canadian GP. I think Ferrari should have suspended him from racing at this GP simply to avoid the wrath of the FIA. The fact the FIA didn’t openly condemn his behaviour was disappointing, but that’s their business.

        1. @drycrust bet a lot of the other drivers past & present would have acted the same.

          heard some of the things lewis said through 2011 as he was getting penalties many felt were incorrect?

          and what about senna walking home and vanishing for hours after his monaco crash, should he have been suspended for acting childish or whatever?

          1. I disagree: Sebastian’s behaviour was extremely unprofessional. I doubt any of those drivers would behave in such a manner, and especially Lewis. He is absolutely professional. I’ve met him, and I’d be very surprised if he would behave in such a manner, especially now that he’s a multiple WDC. Whether the Stewards were right or not is beside the point, the point was Sebastian’s behaviour showed extreme arrogance and disrespect towards the FIA, F1, other teams and competitors, and the rules process. Yes, lodge a complaint, ask questions, but at the end of the day it is a race. People make mistakes, and one of those people is the driver. Why get so excited about this supposed mistake and not all the other mistakes that happened that day?

    12. I think that the other drivers views on the ridiculous penalty in montreal speaks volumes about how silly a decision that was.

      Oh but fans clearly know better than the drivers who actually drive these cars so there views don’t matter right?

      every single fan would have been up in arms about that penalty 25-30 years ago and the fact there are some arguing in favor of the penalty and acting like the drivers don’t know anything of what there talking about just shows how the younger generation of fans no longer know what racing is and that is sad and does not bode well for the future of the sport.

      do they hide behind there sofas while watching the real racing from the past as they scream for penalties everytime cars get a bit close?

      oh but drivers who all think the anti racing rules and the montreal penalty was dumb know nothing so why bother watching anymore since we watch people who don’t know what there doing.

      1. @LyndaMarks Fair comment.

      2. LyndaMarks In the old days no driver would have pulled a stunt like Vettel did, because one of them could die.

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