Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 2019

Vettel will be unhappy with ‘Barrichello role’ at Spa – Rosberg

2019 Belgian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel will be unhappy he had to perform “like a Barrichello” to help Charles Leclerc win the Belgian Grand Prix, according to Nico Rosberg.

The 2016 world champion likened Vettel’s role to Rubens Barrichello’s number two position alongside Michael Schumacher when the pair were team mates. Barrichello was ordered to hand victory to Schumacher in the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix.

Vettel moved into the lead of Sunday’s race after he had to make an early pit stop. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said he was told to let Leclerc through to win because he was inevitably going to be passed and the team didn’t want him holding Leclerc up.

“Poor Vettel,” said Rosberg in a video posted after the grand prix. “Vettel was like a Barrichello in that race. Just waving past your team mate and helping him out. Amazing for a four-times world champion.”

“He won’t be very happy with that, that’s for sure,” Rosberg added.

He praised Leclerc’s “awesome job” in winning his first race. “He’s driving so well this year. I think this is going to be a really important breakthrough for him mentally.

“Getting that first win just gives you so much confidence as a driver. So he’s going to get another step. He’s on it. He just feels so good with at car.”

Rosberg said Leclerc will be the favourite to win this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

“Vettel is just struggling with the Ferrari car at the moment, especially with the rear end, it’s very nervous and he just needs the confidence at the rear end and just not getting it from the car.

“Next race is Monza, another very high-speed track, and that’s where the Ferrari car is best. So Leclerc is a definite favourite again for Monza. Which would be epic, the Tifosi in Monza, that’s going to be a huge party if Ferrari’s first and Leclerc’s definitely the big favourite for that as well.”

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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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73 comments on “Vettel will be unhappy with ‘Barrichello role’ at Spa – Rosberg”

  1. Vettel moved over because it was the obvious thing to do. The long and short of it was that Leclerc was, without a shadow of a doubt, going to pass him eventually, so they made it quick and easy, without wasting time. Vettel played the team role and I’m sure Leclerc would do the same thing. They would have lost the race if Vettel didn’t play that role to perfection; it was exactly what they needed for that race win.

    As for the reference to Barrichello; yes he was famously a Number Two driver, but he was no slouch and on his day was very fast. The Vettel-Leclerc situation is very different to the Schumacher-Barrichello relationship. Ferrari currently have a policy whereby whichever driver is quickest gets preference and if no driver is quickest, Vettel gets preference. In 2000-2005, Ferrari was Michael Schumacher and the other car was there to help him. A different model and not a relevant comparison.

    A short memory from Nico Rosberg, who moved over for his team-mate while fighting him for the title at Monaco 2016…

    1. Very well said @ben-n

    2. Agree, Rosberg is not correct in his assessment of the situation

      1. Rosberg, more often than not, is wrong

        1. Rosberg is always silly and annoying. Just trying to boost his youtube channel now. Even amateurs know that LEC would have passed VET like HAM did afterwards so trying to create scenarios is pure bullsh…

    3. I agree. Rosberg was slated on sky every weekend, even now when he does his things there sky digs at him and yet he goes along with their shamelessly bias mindset. Vettel was either going to yield or face the shame of getting overtaken like in bahrain. Lets talk about Barrichello, in his 5 seasons driving for Ferrari he played the 2 role less times than Bottas did last season.

    4. Vettel moved over because it was the obvious thing to do.

      I disagree, Vettel wouldn’t have moved over without team orders, why would he? He’s the Number One driver and it is his job to finish in front of the Number Two driver. This wasn’t just Vettel having to accept a “lesser” role in Leclerc’s win, but Ferrari management as well. They pay Sebastian to finish in front of Charles. Fortunately common sense is they pay their drivers to win as well. The only problem was there was a fly in the winning ointment: Mercedes were going to over take both cars unless the race finished first. So Sebastian was never going to win, the Mercedes cars were just too good, as shown by their finishing ahead of him. The question was if Charles were to be in front of Sebastian could he build up enough of a lead that he could get to the Finish line before being overtaken? So this was all about maximising their points haul. Earlier this year Ferrari had no qualms about telling Charles to hold position behind Sebastian, and in doing so gave Mercedes the opportunity to overtake. Ferrari squandered maximising some of the potential points hauls. I can’t recall which race it was, but at one of them Charles pointed out on the RT that he and Sebastian were slower when he was behind Sebastian than they were when he was in front of him. So I agree with Nico, team orders were needed to achieve this victory.

      1. I think that was in china, when I believe ferrari were simply too slow to swap the cars round. by the time they did it, vettel’s tyres were shot and he had no pace advantage over leclerc. in belgium, ferrari played it right. they perhaps pitted vettel too early (it should have been obvious that tyre was incapable of doing that many laps at mercedes-race pace), but they moved him out of the way so as to least disadvantage the lead car.

        I think rosberg is just playing the j.villeneuve role right now, saying inflammatory things for air-time/click-bait. there are essentially no parallels between vettel and barrichello (they both drive a red car…that’s about it) and in fact there are no guarantees leclerc will be quicker at monza. the closest track we’ve had (long straights and multiple slow corners/heavy braking zones) was montreal, where seb was very good (bar his error). it would be no surprise at all to see him on pole. the race will still be a massive headache for ferrari if the mercedes’ race pace is as good as in spa (or indeed monza last year). calm heads will prevail.

  2. In an ideal world, it would be great to switch cars between competing drivers to see, say how the Merc drivers will do in the Ferraris, Redbulls and vice verca on different track characteristics…. that would put some questions to rest.

    1. Spoiler alert, Lewis would still win the title.

      1. Like he did on Sunday… Oh wait

        1. He finished 2 And gained points in the title race so you just proved his point

      2. This is debatable, that is why we want to see it.

        It is not a forgone conclusion Hamilton would win the championship in this years RedBull or Ferrari.

        I’d like to think atleast half the drivers could win title in this years Mercedes. I don’t think Hamilton has anything close to pace advantage he would need to better Max Verstappen in Mercedes.

        Top guys are probably very close toggether 0.1 tenth on average between top 3 of ultimate pace.

        Car performance pretty much determines champion will wear white this year.

        1. So you think half the drivers on the grid could beat Hamilton in the same car? Foolish statement.

          1. More likely he implied that half of the grid could do, to a lesser extent, the same job as HAM in a Mercedes, and not that they could beat HAM. More exactly, same job = win the WDC, be it even by 1point.

        2. If I got it right… disagree, HAM wouldn’t win the WDC in a RBR or Ferrari this year. They may be race winning cars, but obviously by now not champ winning cars.

        3. Poster named Newverstappenfan thinks Max would beat Lewis. Well I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

        4. As it turned out Ferrari had superior cars in 2017 and 2018

      3. @ RB13
        A great driver but who has he beaten other than the tiebreaker win against Alonso? The fact is Hamilton has only had to beat his less than great teammates over the past several years and has lost one of those makes your claim questionable.

        He has driven one the most dominate cars in F1 history and as a result has not had to deal with as much wheel to wheel racing compared to the rest of the field.
        Also he hasn’t had to deal with a less than optimal handling car for the most part at Mercedes.

        I think there are other drivers that are more battle tested and could beat him in the scenario described.

  3. “Vettel will be unhappy with “Me in Monaco 2016″ role at Spa says Rosberg”

    Fixed that for you Keith.

    1. @geemac I thought exactly the same thing!

      1. I guess Monaco 2016 is how Nico knows SV won’t be happy with that ‘role,’ however, just as in Monaco then and Spa on Sunday, the role was a no brainer at the time. It was also temporary, or at least in Nico’s case he went on to win the WDC. That won’t be the case for SV, nor was it ever going to happen for RB who was the permanent boot licker.

        1. Dont forget 2013 Malaysian GP and the radio message from Brawn to Nico.

          1. That race where Nico overtook Lewis three times before the last corner; only for Lewis to retake the position out of the last corner? Think so. After Nico’s three goes at passing; and three failures to do so, were they not both told to hold station?

  4. First of all, I think it’s extremely early to talk about a “Barrichello role” in Seb’s case – I agree with the comments above that what he was asked for and what he did was the thing that made most sense to everyone. Anyway, I think we all know he will go the second he realizes he’s been relegated to a supporting act. Second, I think Nico is far from being an authority in the world of motorsport and I can’t really take his words seriously (also taking into account previous comments). I attribute this statement to him just needing the attention for his YouTube channel.

    1. @jjlehto – Indeed, Jacques Villeneuve must be sat in his study thinking for something utterly ridiculous to say now that Nico Rosberg has usurped him as the fount of all nonsense.

      1. lol, truth be told – I’d still like to see that comment, though

        1. To be fair quite often JV turns out to be right but just rubs people up the wrong way when he says it.

          Apparently F1 wants outspoken people until they actually speak out then it gets upset.

    2. Must admit, I find it hilarious how quickly Rosberg has fallen out of favour with the general F1 public now that he isn’t lucking into a WDC due to lopsided reliability in a 2 horse race. His popularity only stemmed from the overarching hatred of our current champion.

      He was never an exceptional driver or personality to warrant his brief moment of fandom, he just had a more reliable car one year that’s it.

      1. I never liked Rosberg and thought Hamilton was ripped off when Ros “won” the wdc

        However I disagree that people only supported him because they hate Hamilton. The only universe that is true in is probably fanatically Hamilton centric

        1. I fully recognise Lewis’ flaws at times (no more than any other driver mind) however to deny that he receives a disproportionate amount of negativity in comparison to other drivers is incredibly short sighted.

          Just imagine if he ever said he would headbutt the next journalist who asked a question he was tired of asking for example?

          1. If LH receives a disproportionate amount of negativity it is likely only because he also receives a disproportionate amount of positivity as well, and both come with a driver on such a run as he is on. He’s the defending multiple WDC and counting, in the dominant car. Of course he is going to draw the most attention, and that is going to come from both sides.

            As to the headbutt comment…let’s lighten up. That was Max and that was a joke (as if he would ever actually do that) and it was because he was actually being asked time and time again if he was going to change as a driver, and he never was going to do that and made that clear time and time again.

          2. @robbie of course it was tongue in cheek but the point is, Lewis would never be afforded that assessment.

            He gets disproportionate negativity for the same reason Trump is in office and Britain is heading for financial ruin, let’s not get it twisted we all know what that reason is and the last few years have clearly shown it’s not just a fringe minority who think that way.

            Flame away those who must but one of the reasons the world is in a mess right now is because for too long this topic was dismissed by those who have never experienced it. Overt or indsidious in all it’s forms it has always been there for some of us.

          3. RB13 that was really well said!

          4. RB13 I wouldn’t know how much to attribute whatever level of negativity there is to his being so dominant in F1 that people want a change, or how much to attribute it to anything else. I wouldn’t know how you or anyone else can gauge this sort of thing, so I think you are doing a lot of speculation here both in the amount of negativity (you’re assuming it’s a great amount) and the reasons (which you cannot know unless you take surveys and polls).

          5. I see your poiny rb13, and whilst it is well made i still have reservations.

            I also found Max’s headbutt comments immature and distasteful. And as a result my impression of Max was lessened. Thing is, Rosberg never had Max’s following and never will, and Hamilton has too much experience and class to make such a remark.

            Lewis is currently the most popular F1 driver worldwide, by a long margin. As Robbie said, people like variety and thus will support genuine alternative title contenders, but realistically thats not actualy racial nor hate just the nature of sport.

            I would suggest your comments may be based in your experience and would like to see a poll or survey re popularity of ros vs ham. Cause in my view, when Ros won many were dissapproving and thay for a long time. The guy simply wasnt likeable when he was driving and is questionably so now, although he seems to have benefited from getting out from under the pressure with retirement.

      2. Nico’s F1 ranking may be somewhat overblown but he was consistently better than Schumi.

  5. Rosberg has to stay relevant so he’s gotta come out and say “controversial” things like this.

  6. Maybe Vettel now understands Webber’s pain. It must suck having some 21 year old hotshot come into the team, and the team orders you to move out of their way.

    1. When exactly did Red Bull ask/require/direct Webber to move aside for Vettel? Other than that one time in Brazil 2012 after Webber had already blocked Vettel at the first corner? List the instances please @davids

      1. They avoided it by managing Webber with B or C strategies, pitting him early and making him stick to Multi21 agreements.

  7. Now, now Nico. You are more than welcome to repeatedly throw shade or ridicule Hamilton. That’s why you have the following you do. But try the same thing with Vettel or Max and their fans will soon relegate you to Villeneuve status. (and I’m not talking Gilles here)

    1. @riptide you would think that Nico would have little love for Lewis since his team went with Lewis rather than nico yet after retirement he still believes he is on Mercedes camp fighting the war. Step outside see f1 as a whole and realise Ferrari have been paying too much attention to the British press and so having their judgement affected by the pro mercedes rosberg. Bottas is treated like a dog, Nico says nothing about it.

  8. I really think there’s too many people jumping in with knives to put in Vettel’s back. It is possible to elevate Leclerc without attacking Vettel. It’s not a good look, especially coming from Rosberg who spent seasons hopping out of the way of his team-mate.

    1. Vettel puts his own knives in his back, or his foot in his mouth, or shoot himself in his own foot.
      Let’s see if he screws up again at Monza trying to drive into Hamilton.
      He’s clearly done the maths and knows that his only half chance of winning the championship.

  9. Of course SV will not be happy that he lagged in pace, but otherwise he seemed perfectly at ease having ‘served the team’ at Spa.

    Barrichello of course was under contract to let MS by for the win, always, and out of frustration showed on track and admitted to the world afterwards just that, when he pulled over with metres to go in Austria 02. SV is certainly under no such contract, so Nico’s reference is misguided.

    1. I think he genuinely wants the team to do well but there’s also team Seb and he represents that team and I can’t see him being ok with the result of this weekend, He’s a competitor so he must be and should be disgusted with his performance and his confidence must be at its bottom.

      This is wake up call for Seb… He needs to perform at his absolute best and treat every race as if it’s the last race.

      1. @freelittlebirds I think the problem for Seb is that he most likely has being trying as hard as he can, for he certainly doesn’t want to be beat by his teammate, and the fact simply is that the car must not suit him as well. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt that he is after all a proven WDC. But as we have seen with other proven WDCs eg Alonso, having a great resume from previous seasons does not always translate into any kind of guarantee that even a top driver can take what he has and win with it. This just to say I doubt Seb needs the wake up call. He knows he can lag behind CL, and he knows what he doesn’t like about his car. If he could snap his fingers and change that I’m sure he would.

        1. @Robbie If that’s the case then things look very, very bleak for Sebastian.

          1. @freelittlebirds Not really. There’s every bit the possibility that SV will head CL in the next race. It’s a work in progress. CL has opined that he himself might feel a little more comfortable in the car, but we know that is not likely to be all the time. And it does seem to take a certain track to help the Ferraris so at tracks that are less Ferrari friendly both SV and CL might struggle equally. It’s an ongoing thing.

      2. If he had actually cared about Ferrari he would have given up his spot to fernando who would have actually had a shot at the title in 2018 and maybe even 2017

    2. Jonathan Edwards
      4th September 2019, 1:52

      I’m biased, as I was, and remain, a Schumacher fan, but I feel inclined to point out that your citing of Barrichello being a contracted #2 driver is also speculative. As you rightly pointed out in your response to MG13, which was very well-written, speculation is not a base on which one should wish to rest an argument.

      Everyone knows that Barrichello was a contracted #2, because he said he was, and because this was always the assumption with Michael’s teammates. However, I’d bet a large sum that no journalist who’s stated as much on record has actually seen the contracts. I’ll grant that there’s probably more credence for this than for MG13 was arguing, but it’s still speculation.

      I stopped feeling sorry for Rubens after I read numerous interviews with Ross Brawn, who, for whatever it’s worth, stated the reasons the team was more inclined to support Michael, and why Rubens didn’t garner the same support within the team.

      1. Indeed, Robbie especially on this site, has to be the main one with this argument, and occasionally a few others, keep saying barrichello, irvine, massa etc. could not compete with schumacher cause they were number 2, the reality is: if they had performed at schumacher level, they’d have pulled a 2007 hamilton and took the team over, they didn’t cause they weren’t at the same level, that’s how it is.

        Otherwise vettel would have reduced leclerc and ricciardo to a number 2 as well, if you’re fast you will become number 1 no matter what.

        1. @esploratore The problem with your argument is that not only would Irvine, Barrichello, and Massa not generally have been considered as top drivers for top teams, they were hired specifically for that reason. Come to Ferrari where you normally wouldn’t be considered, but here’s the deal…you’re not to compete with MS. That’s your trade-off.

          So the problem with your argument is that you are asking non-top level drivers to ‘simply’ have outperformed MS and earned the number one spot, when they were never even capable of doing so not to mention there was no desire within the team for that to happen. It was all about MS from minute one, by contract, with none of his teammates ever having a fair shot to compete, because of their business model, not to mention the desires and motivations of Max Mosley and BE.

          1. Jonathan Edwards
            5th September 2019, 0:07

            Again, stating it’s by contract is speculation.

            I would also say I can’t agree with your theory that the Mosley-led FIA was as cozy with Ferrari as you suggest. Ignoring the commercial arrangements that had nothing to do with the FIA, and the rules veto which was never used during this timeframe, a glaring example of the FIA not being in cahoots with Ferrari is the tire rules put in place for the ‘05 season. These rules were specifically designed to end Ferrari’s dominance.

  10. Well… it’s Spa…it’s the 1st race after the summer break. Leclerc now has the edge on Vettel in qualifying with an emphatic pole.

    Rosberg’s right – this has to sting. Vettel wasn’t capable of even racing Leclerc. Leclerc was much quicker all weekend.

    1. This is the only real issue Vettel faces.

      Leclerc was blisteringly fast. Vettel is a historically great qualifier, this car is not suiting him to extract his usual level of performance. Meanwhile Leclerc is able to cope with unstable rear end. Just like Riciardo was able to aswell.

      It makes Vettel look particularly bad, exaggerating current form.

      1. I agree – Vettel is a top driver who’s simply not performing at his best at the moment. He needs to pull himself together and start putting some awe inspiring performances, His real fight this year is against Leclerc and he needs to quickly get on top of things. The car’s performance seems to be getting away from him and going towards Leclerc.

        He needs to clean everything up including his facial hair:). Everything about him looks sloppy.

  11. It’s called teamwork, Nico. There is no “i” in Ferrari!

    1. Lol, just like there’s no i in multi-21:)

  12. There was an old article (giving the link below) that writes a bit about the different driving styles of Vettel and Leclerc.

    “Leclerc’s smooth inputs work in combination with a racing line that’s closer to the geometric line – a more open curve through a corner. Compared to a ‘stop, turn and point’ style like Vettel, Leclerc will be in the corner for longer, but, due to the shallower arc, will be able to maintain a higher minimum speed.”

    Given deficiencies of the car itself, whether driving styles are aggravating problems for Vettel?

    1. @pinakghosh
      Rather than there preferred individual driving styles, I think it is LEC’s better “adaptability” that allows him to regularly outrace Vettel.

    2. @pinakghosh I think Vettel chose a wrong set up for Spa to be honest. The previous race (Hungary), Vettel was able to take much better care of his tyres and ended up overtaking Leclerc for the last podium spot. Leclerc acknowledged that Vettel usually did a better job looking after his tyres. Fast forward a month and we have the opposite situation: Leclerc is faster and less hard with his tyres than Vettel. I’m sure Leclerc has been studying how to improve his tyre management, but I don’t think that explains such a big difference from one race to the next.

  13. No no it’s not Barrichello’s role, Vettel is doing Bottas’s wingman role. Vettel’s block on Hamilton essentially helped Leclerc. Just as Bottas’s block on Ferrari giving Hamilton’s wins.

  14. Rosberg and his countless jabs at Vettel and Hamilton whenever he has a chance.

    Maybe we should wait for these two to retire and become pundits and finally tell what they really think about Rosberg and his immediate retirement from motorsport at age 30 with a two year contract with the ink still fresh on his signature.

  15. This year, Ferrari made mistake by slowing down Leclerc at the first part of the season. Now, when only Mercedes drivers have a chance of a driver’s title, Ferrari are taking one race at a time and Leclerc may become their No.1 driver in almost each remaining race. It’s not that Sebastian has never been No.2 driver, remember Red Bull 2014 season when he lead only 1 lap during the whole 2014 season (that “miracle” was in Singapore GP) compared to 684 laps led in 2013 season.

  16. If Vettel is Barrichello then Rosberg seems to be morphing into Villeneuve now.

  17. Where does this controversy come from?
    LEC was simply faster. VET might have hold him, but it would only mean that HAM ‘d passed them both.

  18. Rosberg needs to keep quiet and ACTUALLY RETIRE

  19. Lol tried to be the next Michael ended up the next barrichello

    1. Ahah, true, that’s a pretty sad outcome!

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