Flavio Briatore has questioned Sebastian Vettel’s attitude in this year’s title race, saying the Ferrari driver is too focused on race wins to look at the bigger picture.
With four races remaining in this season, Vettel is facing the very real prospect of losing the World title to Lewis Hamilton.
If the Brit wins the next race, the United States GP, and Vettel is third or lower, the trophy will return to Brackley for a fifth successive season.
Briatore says that’s because Vettel keeps going for the individual wins, when he should be focused on the championship.
“He will finish second, and it’s always a fine line between the winner and the first loser,” he told Bild newspaper.
“I think Sebastian made a lot of mistakes this year.
“You don’t have to win every race to be World Champion, you have to keep scoring.
“Vettel races for race wins, and that’s not how it works.”
The Italian explained his thoughts during the podcast with 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg.
He highlighted Vettel’s mistake at the Italian Grand Prix, when he hit Hamilton trying to defend his position, as a case study of the German’s incorrect mindset.
“You need to explain to him that the race is 53 laps, not one lap,” he said. “I remember we had the same experience with Fernando [Alonso].
“When you want to win the championship finishing third place is already bingo. It’s important to stay on the track.
“His [Vettel’s] accident in Monza made no sense, honestly. You know the car is better, you just brake and stay behind, finito. You have 50 more laps to recover it.
“If you go out, you have zero laps to recover.
“Sure, with the car he has he could finish fourth because the car is better than the rest of the competition.
“But when you want to win the championship you have to be a master at that and do well and finish second and third also.
“The target is to just get the points. You don’t need to win every race to win the championship. It’s not about the race wins, it’s about the points.
“If you have a competitive car, you overtake somebody. If you are going to have an accident with the guy who has more points than you, the advantage goes to your competitor.”