Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2019

Vettel says his 2019 performance was not “as bad as it looks”

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Sebastian Vettel admitted he needs to perform better after a difficult 2019, but says his season wasn’t as bad as it seemed.

After a strong showing in pre-season testing Ferrari finished a distant second to Mercedes in the constructors’ championship. Vettel and team mate Charles Leclerc took three wins between them, but both finished behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the drivers’ championship.

“We didn’t have the year that we were hoping for, full stop.” said Vettel after finishing the final race of the year in fifth.

“I think the reasons are clear. I think the lessons are clear. Now it’s up to us to make sure to take them on board. So I think as a team, we must perform stronger.”

Vettel finished behind his team mate in the driver’s championship for the first time since 2014, when Daniel Ricciardo beat him at Red Bull.

The Ferrari driver acknowledged he also needs to perform better next year. “As an individual I think I must do better, I can do better,” said Vettel. “It wasn’t a great year from my side.

“I don’t think it was as bad as it looks because there were many small things probably leading to maybe not a great picture at the end. But still, I’m the first one to look at myself and if I’m honest I know that I can do better.

“That’s, for sure, the target for next year, to do a step forward. And hopefully we get a stronger package as well to be able to fight with Mercedes and Red Bull in the front.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

38 comments on “Vettel says his 2019 performance was not “as bad as it looks””

  1. It was worse than it looks. Not only he was beaten by LeClerc, he also lost more than just a team mate battle… this was supposed to be the year when Ferrari started to get everything together. Maybe a championship fight was out of reach, but they needed a McLaren-like year, making the best of what they have and working in unison together.

    They just looked as messy as they did in the Alonso years, or even further before the Schumacher years.

    They have to be thankful that Red Bull had so much trouble in the second car. Had Ricciardo stayed with them, no way they’d have finished behind the Scuderia.

    1. Mmm… nice to see you positive, but at which part exactly, Seb?

    2. I think Seb needs to address his ‘red mist’ issues. He really does return to form when on the back foot, and as soon as he it out of his comfort zone, he gets ragged. Add to that the rolling calamity that has been Ferrari works this season, the whole shoow has been less than convincing. Like Herbert said, LeClerc seems to be able to quielty plug in performance after performance when it counts whereas Vettel is a mite inconsistent.

    3. @fer-no65 Have to agree, worse than it looks. Given he was given preference over Leclerc deliberately or inadvertently at various races (start of the season, Singapore), he should have been further behind Leclerc on points. Three seasons in a row Vettel has underperformed. At least he limited himself to just two contact-less spins on track during races this year, Bahrain and Monza.

      1. Vettel’s contact-less spin at Abu Dhabi qualifying session was not what we expect from 4x World Champion either. :)

  2. I do think that the team orders in Russia were pretty stupid when Vettel was clearly the faster driver, and if they had allowed for the fact that vettel was faster, and he hadn’t retired, then Vettel will have beaten Leclerc in the championship. But then we have to factor in the number of times the team have helped Vettel over Leclerc which has certainly happened a lot.

    1. @thegianthogweed The only reason Vettel looked faster WA because of the tow.

      1. And he built up a gap every lap and it eventually got to 4 and a half seconds…..

        Really, you often disagree with my comments, but this time i really can’t understand why you are giving this as a reason. Vettel was simply pulling away. Not that quickly, but he was building a gap and clearly looked that bit faster.

        He wasn’t getting a tow here was he….

        He then pitted when he was at a comfortable gap and then his car failed.

        He may have benefited from ignoring orders (which were pointless given he was faster, but he had almost certainly got enough speed to get by Leclerc anyway. Bottas managed a good launch from 3rd in 2017 and got by 2 Ferraris when both didn’t try to allow him.

        1. @thegianthogweed it’s really not that complicated. You have an agreement, you stick to it. You don’t stick it to your team mate who was helping you.

          1. Why even bring this nonsense up?

    2. and if they had allowed for the fact that vettel was faster, and he hadn’t retired, then Vettel will have beaten Leclerc in the championship.


      Too many ifs.

      Going by your ‘if’ theories… If Ferrari hadn’t given team orders favouring Seb in the first 4 out of 5 races, and if Leclerc’s engine issue didn’t happen in Bahrain, then Leclerc would have lead Vettel in the points from the 1st race to the last race of the season.

      Vettel didn’t win a race this season on merit. That summarises his season.

      1. Yep, have to agree with you @todfod, and @fer-no65; Noteworthy Vettel said reasons are clear, but stopped short of telling us what he thinks they are, have to think he doesn’t actually want to be openly setting goals for next years improvement.

      2. Vettel didn’t win a race this season on merit. That summarises his season.

        Spot on.

  3. I still can’t understand how they could be so good at winter testing and come the season be so bad.
    They said the car was incredible, good, quick, reliable, etc. It looked faster and steadier than Mercedes.

    They’re professionals. There must be an answer. They can’t come and say that their front wint concept was a mistake after thousands of laps done with it with good results, and most important of all : it being adopted by most teams by the end of the season.

    1. Partly, Mercedes looked worse than they turned out to be, apart from the Hamilton time on his last day of testing. And I think some was Ferrari not seeing their tire issues at that time.

    2. This is a regular part of Ferrari’s testing. They often seem to go for fast laps and show much more of their speed performance than Mercedes. Merc tends to put on the middle tire and put in as many laps as possible. This year they did put in some fast laps near the end of testing.

      Many saw what happened the first week and made assumptions that Ferrari was going to be way ahead. Wouldn’t count Merc out until the first few races prove they are behind, and that hasn’t happened in this era yet.

  4. Kimi would’ve beaten ’19 edition of Vettel fair and square even when possible wingman strateg8es are taken into consideration.

    1. @huhhii If you correct for the 2 DNF’s that Raikkonen had in 2018 (at his 15 points per race average), he performed pretty much equal to Vettel that season. Even with all the wingman strategies that ruined most of his races.

  5. Yes it was!

  6. Not as bad as it could have been.

    1. As bad as he spin.

  7. I’m disappointed by Vettel. I know he is an amazing driver and can be kind and graciousin defeat. He can aso be an angry nutter who has almost no regard for anyone or anything but his own self-interest. And thank God he’s stopped doing that flippin’ finger thing… I notice some twitters saying he’s about to do a Nico and run away from the sport… I hope not, I think the grid needs his fireworks.

  8. Don’t know what was up with him this year but he looked like he just wasn’t there – almost as if after Melbourne and seeing all the promise seen in testing evaporate kinda took all the wind out of his sails. He wasn’t the quick driver he was last year and as the Ferrari improved over the year it was Leclerc that took advantage of it – not him. Often he looked lazy and clumsy, and the few times he looked considerably good the car either failed on him or other drama took him out.

    Perhaps it was feeling demoralised after the failed promise of testing? Either way Ferrari were nowhere against Mercedes until after the break and then were back to nowhere after the technical directive. It was a poor year, from not just him but Ferrari too. I’d not be surprised if he walks away as it doesn’t look like his heart’s in it anymore.

  9. Take a year off with the wife and kids Seb……

  10. It was worse!

  11. It’s only not as bad as it looks because Ferrari don’t have great options. 2021 might be a different story.

    He should probably send the Merc board of directors chocolate and flowers every month asking for them to stay in F1. Otherwise bit will be Hamilton/Leclerc in 2021.

  12. Vettel looked defeated and exhausted in that Sky post race interview. Looked like he wanted the season to be over few races ago. Hope he comes back stronger next season.

  13. Most of the people see only negative things in Vettel and didn’t see the reasons. And the reasons exist. You just need to think about it.

    Leclerc had/has a lot weakness but nobody wants to see it, it’s better to take attention to Vettel’s one.

    Obviously you never be a good manager otherwise you understand the current relations within Ferrari. First it’s the atmosphere in the team, right people in the right place – then the results from the staff, not wise versa. Vettel has been already several years in Ferrari and suffers from the trouble inside the team. Leclecr is young and it’s his first year in Ferrari, will see him in 2-3 years when they loose several times like in Alonso/Vettel’s time.

    First Mercedes got the right company structure, staff from Braun & MS as in Ferrari time , they invite Aldo Costa who made the winning car plus outstanding engine. Toto/Lewis come in the right moment when everything is ready just push the throttle and win WDC, do not bother about the politics and other stuff.

    Until that I don’t see any from drivers like Vettel, Leclerc, Alonso or even LH, who could come in Ferrari at 2021, could challenge either Merc or RB.

  14. I think it was at least as bad as it looks. I think his race is run.

  15. Even in his Red Bull days, there were always question marks about his ability.

    I think they’ve been answered at this point.

  16. Leclerc will eat Vettel for breakfast next season and the team won’t feel inclined to provide him with any kind of preferential treatment.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see no wins for Seb next year, just depends on how good the car is.

    1. If it werent for Ferrari he wouldnt have won that one race at Singapore, só it is easy to see him not winning a race next year.

  17. Jesus! Imagine how bad the season should be for Sebastian to call it a bad season. Is it even possible to be worse than this season for a Ferrari No.1 driver and 4x World Champion?!

  18. I’m the first one to look at myself

    Must have missed that the last 30 times where he was blaming other drivers, the conditions, the car.

  19. He finished dead last among the 5 drivers in the first division. And it wasnt really close. The funny thing is, statistically, he is far and above the most successful active driver after Hamilton. He’s not a hack, so it’s painful to watch his current situation.

  20. I’m a Ferrari and huge Vettel fan, but I have to disagree with Seb: this season was awful for him. He rarely shined (Singapore mostly) and fell very short when needed (Monza spin still hurts). Ferrari needs to change a lot to return winning championships and that’s a fact, I just don’t see how Seb can return to be the right man to finish the job.

    The only important placement is first, so second or fifth doesn’t really matter apart from the few days after the championship ends: but nevertheless Seb has been beaten under every point of view by his team mate (poles, points, wins) so I really can’t understand where he sees positivity.

  21. Is this the classic attempt at polishing a t*rd? Maybe Seb’s living in a parallel universe is getting in the way of his being the driver he used to be.

Comments are closed.