Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2020

Hamilton: Vettel showing his class despite not being wanted by Ferrari

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said Sebastian Vettel’s perseverance at Ferrari despite his impending departure from the team shows the four-times champion’s “great character”.

The Mercedes driver empathised with his rival, who was told three months ago he will not be retained by Ferrari for the 2021 F1 season.

“I saw the difficult race he had previously and all I can try to do is empathise with the position he’s in and try to be understanding,” said Hamilton. “It’s never a great feeling to have been told that you’re not wanted to continue within the team.

“[When] you join a team and you get into a team, you give your all, you give your heart. But I think it’s great the way he’s pushing, the way he’s continuing to try and help the team.

“It just shows the great character he has and commitment to racing. And I hope that something really positive comes up for him moving forwards.”

After five races, Vettel has scored just 10 points compared to team mate Charles Leclerc’s 45. But Vettel’s former team mate Daniel Ricciardo believes he is unlikely to throw in the towel.

“I don’t think he’s a guy to just scrunch up a piece of paper and throw it in the bin and just be like ‘whatever’,” said Ricciardo. “He’s someone that’s going to analyse everything and find a way to improve or find an answer to a question.

“I don’t think he’s the guy to just walk away from a problem. He cares too much, whether it’s pure love for the sport or about himself, the pride I guess he has in himself.”

Ricciardo said he expects Vettel to “bounce back” from his troubled start to 2020.

“In this sport I’ve enjoyed being not only a team mate but a competitor with him. I said it from the start when the Ferrari news got announced, if he wants to keep doing it and if he believes he can keep doing it at the top level that he’s shown the last 10 years, then 100%, he should stay in the sport and he’s good for the sport.

“That’s up to him to answer. But I do expect him to bounce back.”

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Author information

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...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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35 comments on “Hamilton: Vettel showing his class despite not being wanted by Ferrari”

  1. There have been a lot of circumstantial, mechanic and strategic issues offering some excuse for Vettel. But at some point enough is enough. He is a broken man and in the same club as Albon, Ocon and Stroll with regard to getting beaten by their team mates. Arguably worse than the latter two. But he is an experienced driver, a former champ and driving for Ferrari. He isnt in his second year like Albon is. As a former fan of his i just wish he’d retire at the end of the year. He peaked early in his career but he doesnt have it anymore. Lets not wait for the age number to catch up. Its clear to see he is done.

    1. Please answer me this…because it just does not compute with me. HOW can you be a “Former Fan”???? Seems you’ve jumped ship when the going got tough. You were never a fan if you are now a “former fan”.

      1. @deanr Is this the kind of “if you divorce, you never loved X in the first place?” logic? Vettels situation has been long in the making, and my disappointment in him has come with it. I genuinly think he was ultra competitive pre-2014, but things changed, lots of things didn’t suit him, were alien to him. He didn’t like the new V6 era. He hasn’t been able to adapt. He’s gone downhill and done lots of silly things on track. I personally stopped caring somewhere in 2018 I guess, so it’s not all of a sudden. I have defended him plenty on forums. But he’s run out of excuses, and I’d rather not see him occupy a seat which another more hungry more deserving young driver otherwise would get.

        1. It seems more of a case of the love was only there when you bought me expensive gifts type of marriage.

          I think the lean times (maybe not current and last season) have shown how good Vettel actually is and has made me respect him more .

          Granted he has made errors recently but I cannot remember anything so drastic that it would cause a fan or anyone else to dislike him.

          His four WDCs still stand and I still hope that he can redeem his career and end it on a high (not likely to be another WDC). I do think getting a seat in a car that can outperform the Ferraris would be a step in the right direction.

          1. How about a comment from a non fan.. always thought the 4 WDCs kind of flattered him.. a very good driver but not an elite one …whenever paired with a decent driver he comes out second best .. Ricciardo 2014 ,lecrec in 2019 and most likely 2020…

        2. Whatever suits you I guess but I just cannot grasp your logic. You don’t become a fan/supporter and then just jump ship! Divorce is not a comparable situation. You have no personal intamacy with a team/driver.
          5 year old children swap support of teams/players/drivers when they aren’t winning as much as they used to. No disrespect but I think it’s shameful. I respect your position but I cannot, in any way understand it. You have a football team (mine is Cambridge United FYI) and that is FOR LIFE! You have a favourite driver and that is for their career. I mean…I just…it’s weird.

          1. definitely a case of fan bandwagon. He was a fan when he was winning. Just like Lewis has more fan now. As soon Hamilton quits. You’ll see them jumping ships again.

        3. @me4me

          There have been a lot of circumstantial, mechanic and strategic issues offering some excuse for Vettel. But at some point enough is enough.

          also @me4me

          but things changed, lots of things didn’t suit him, were alien to him. He didn’t like the new V6 era. He hasn’t been able to adapt.

          You literally make excuses after saying enough is enough.

          Anyway, Vettel hasn’t adapted. He may be the kind of driver who is the best driver at specific kind of car, one that no longer exists, and is just an average driver otherwise. Or maybe he was an excellent driver before, but literally did “forget how to drive” after being literally stuck to the ground during his reign. There are plenty of anecdotal proofs that show that a driver may not be the best at every type of handling.

          1. There are no excuses for VET but the point to this particular comment is you do not dump the team/driver you support because they stop winning. It’s pathetic.
            FYI I am no Vet fan!!

    2. @me4me
      How coincidental that your username matches your level of support.
      I’m curious to know which F1 team you support.
      A real fan doesn’t talk down about their favourite driver, even after “being a former fan”. If you were really a fan you would’ve at least kept quiet about his perfomances and moved on.
      Of course you stopped supporting him in 2018 when he was close to winning a WDC.
      Just move on, man. Lewis is tipped to win this and the next WDC, now that you’re ‘available’

    3. Ouch! You appear to have riled up the true Scotsmen!

  2. Speaking of drawing parallels in MotoGP long term Ducati rider Dovi has had a falling out with his team though he had a deal on table but given his lackluster performance it was quite low for Dovi’s liking.

  3. Ferrari is bigger than any single driver.
    The team is more important even the greatest in F1.
    More than I can say for Mercedes.

    1. Hahaha ha. Ferrari are a basket case and have been for many many years. Dont take your frustration out on Merc beause Ferrari re failing so badly.

    2. Yes you are right. Ferrari put the team first, whilst Mercedes put the driver first. So hows Mercedes being doing compared with Ferrari in the WCCs since they returned to the grid; given the team championship is not Mercedes primary goal?

  4. To me it seems like it shows how much Seb wants his $30M plus salary, even if it means public humiliation and tarnishing his legacy.

    1. A little harsh but may be deserved.

    2. For $30M plus I would take public humiliation and a tarnished legacy (not that there’s much of one to start with…)


    3. @jeffreyj So, what would it take for you to turn down $30M+ ?

      1. @psynrg Hey man, I’m not judging him. Just saying.

      2. Hard, I can’t find an answer, however I’d like to point out how 30 mil for the typical forum reader are over 99% overall money increase, and what, 10%? For vettel, it’s a HUGE difference, it’s much easier for an established driver to turn down those money than us.

  5. Thinking twice and how Ferrari trashed drivers before, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the slow pace is more “Ferrari-driven” than Vettel.

    1. Not really .. Alonso and Ferrari clearly had drifted apart by 2014..still dint stop him wiping the floor with Kimi … Maybe lecrec gets prefrential treatment now but there is no denying that vettel is struggling to keep up with his younger teammate

      1. 78 year old Kimi was not the same as Leclerc is today. Charles is championship material and young & hungry. Kimi was over the top by then already.

  6. I don’t know. Is it wise to make a throw away comment about another driver, even if it is not un-complimentary? Especially if he is going through a rough patch that seems to point to a possible exit from the sport?

  7. I would like to see Vettel with Hamilton in Mercedes F1 team. That would be legendary.

    1. I would like that too..but i feel vettel may not fare any better than bottas .

      1. He might fare worse than Bottas. Valtteri is mega quick in qualifying, being within a 0.1 from the all-time qualifying king in Lewis. He also doesn’t make the red-mist mistakes Vettel does, or the silly spins.

        Over an entire season I’d say Bottas would win out in a direct duel with Vettel in the same car.


  8. It’s encouraging to see the two great Italian teams (Ferrari and AlphaTauri) nip and tuck in terms of performance this year. If we disregard the cheaty copycats in pink, the cheaty aero tricks of RedBull, the lucky McLarens and the obviously cheaty Mercs, then the Scuderia are right up there /s

  9. I’m intrigued. Wolff hinting at changing roles at the end of this season and Hamilton talking up Vettel. Is it really possible that Hamilton will retire and Vettel will take his place??

    1. That would be the least deserving driver there really, there’s plenty of drivers who deserve a car to win now and haven’t had it before (titles), verstappen and leclerc example, and even if you go look in the midfield there’s plenty of drivers more deserving than vettel.

  10. I think it’s as simple as Vettel knowing he can’t keep up with Leclerc so is now trying preserve his reputation by pushing the narrative that the team isn’t supporting him, not giving him the best parts, etc.

    I’m a Vettel fan but he’s always been very selfish and emotional.

    This isn’t just about Leclerc but goes back to a sequence of races back in 2018 (Germany, Italy, Japan) where he made small errors that destroyed his races.

    Mercedes were a class above Ferrari in 2018. It was only Hamilton’s inconsistency and poor pitwall calls from Mercedes in the first half of the season that gave Vettel a chance of a championship.

    In those sequence of races starting from Germany I think he lost his bottle and never recovered it.

    He received a lot of criticism for Singapore 2017 when it wasn’t his fault at all, critcism for the incident under safety car in Baku where I think Hamilton kind of goaded him. Vettel seems like a sensitive person that takes that criticism to heart. Then the small errors from Germany onwards kind of knocked his confidence.

    1. Can’t agree about 2018 cars, I think they were pretty even in 2018, maybe a class above in 2017, but vettel was much worse than in 2017.

  11. To all you naysayers out there in ‘F1fanland’, don’t forget this :
    The great Babe Ruth was not only the home run king back in his day, but he was also the ‘strikeout’ king as well. No one knows what lies in the heart of a champion. Let Sébastien Vettel chart his own course, do what ‘real’ fans
    do… the show !

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