Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn believes Sebastian Vettel is “under a different kind of pressure” after a difficult 2019 worsened at Silverstone.
The Ferrari man ploughed into the back of Max Verstappen during the British Grand Prix, costing the Dutchman what was shaping up to be a certain podium.
It capped off a weekend for Vettel where he had been consistently outpaced by team-mate Charles Leclerc, and was the latest in a series of high-profile errors stretching back from the second half of 2018.
Bahrain and Canada serve as other examples of costly mistakes the German has made in 2019, but as a four-time World Champion the talent is certainly there, though many are starting to question if the mentality and desire remains.
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Brawn believes Vettel needs to figure out what direction he wants to move in going forward, arguing he is now “under a different kind of pressure” to what he usually experiences.
“Vettel could not muster a smile. Since Canada, Sebastian seems to have been struggling more and more, and in Silverstone those woes deepened further,” he explained to the official F1 website in his British GP review.
“Unlike Leclerc, he never felt comfortable in the car, as can be seen from the gaps in qualifying and then, in the race, he didn’t make the most of the Safety Car opportunity, after it had seen him move up to third.”
“Then came the mistake when he slammed into the back of Verstappen’s car. He realised immediately that he’d erred and after the race quickly sought Max out to apologise.
“It’s a difficult moment for Sebastian, as he probably feels under a different kind of pressure than he’s used to, and he must be asking himself what direction he should now go in, given that again this year, his chance of putting Ferrari back on top is slipping away.”
Brawn knows Ferrari like the back of his hand after being an integral part of the dominant Michael Schumacher era, and he stressed that Vettel is in the right place for support to get through this difficult patch.
“Sebastian is an incredible driver, as his record shows, but at the moment, he needs to keep calm and to rely on support from his team, which I’m sure he is getting,” he explained.
“I reckon there is no other team like Ferrari when it comes to surrounding its drivers with affection and positive energy.”