Sebastian Vettel has cast fresh doubt on Lewis Hamilton ’s F1 future, questioning the Brit’s ‘excitement’ for the sport. Hamilton has grown accustomed to lightning starts at Mercedes in recent seasons, but he is now in the middle of his worst campaign since 2009.
As the motorsport legend continues to find solutions for his early season woes, Vettel, who has shared many battles with his rival on the track, can understand the seven-time champion feeling frustrated with his performances so far this year. “When you get to know the sport in the way I have done, and Lewis has done, winning and being at the top is what you strive for,” said Vettel, who claimed four consecutive titles with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013.
“Does it excite you to finish eighth, or 12th or 13th? No it doesn’t, when you know you have been first so many times – and in Lewis’ case more than any other guy. George (Russell) comes in. He spent three years at Williams suffering to death at the rear of the field, scoring the odd point, and then suddenly he is eighth or 12th and life for him is amazing.
“Everybody is different, but you need to be fair from the outside and say, look, is Lewis naturally going to be as fired up about finishing eighth as George probably is? No, and I would be surprised if he was.” Attention now turns to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which will take place on Sunday. Hamilton arrives in Baku 75 points adrift of championship leader Max Verstappen – the equivalent of three race victories.
Vettel, on the other hand, sits 15th with just five points, having missed the first two races of the season following a positive test for Covid-19. The Aston Martin star has not won a race in almost three years and says his future on the grid depends on whether his team’s fortunes improve. But is he scared by the thought of retirement?
“Yes,” said Vettel, speaking at the launch of ‘IL PITSTOP’ – a new multi-sensory experience from Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0%. “I have done motor racing for my whole life and it gives you security, in terms of the schedule being made by other people.
“I don’t know what life after Formula One looks like and I don’t think any sportsperson knows what the next life looks like. You can have certain things lined up but you don’t know and that is the truth. I don’t expect to find something tomorrow which I am really good at because I have found something in my life that I am really good at and it is hard to find that again. How many times can you win the lottery?
“I enjoy driving the car but there are other things I don’t like. After so many years the usual stuff comes up that you don’t understand at the beginning, like the travel. It is very time consuming and I have kids at home and a family so it equals time away from them. The future depends on this year and the races that I have coming up. I have not decided yet. The summer is the usual time when you start to talk so we will see.”