Even before the first race of this season, Ferrari informed the four-time World Champion that he would be out at the end of the 2020 season, his seat is going to Carlos Sainz.
It has created an unusual dynamic as it is not often that a driver has to spend an entire year with a team that has basically sacked him.
It is perhaps showing in Vettel’s result.
The 33-year-old is in the midst of his worst start to a campaign since his first full year on the Formula 1 grid with Toro Rosso in 2008.
Scoring just 10 points with a best showing of P6 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Jolyon Palmer says it is time for Ferrari to drop Vettel from what is a “toxic” situation while Gerhard Berger has urged his former team to put Sainz in the car now.
However, Hamilton says he sympathises with his former title rival.
“I saw the difficult race he had had previously and all I can try to do is empathise with the position he’s in and try to be understanding,” said the Mercedes driver.
“It can never be a great feeling to be told that you’re not wanted and to continue within the team, especially when you join a team and you’re in a team, you give your all, you give your heart.
“But I think the way he’s pushing, the way he’s continuing to try and help the team just shows the great character he has and his commitment to racing.
“I hope that something really positive comes up for him moving forwards.”
There has been suggestions from some pundits that Ferrari should release Vettel early, calling it quits on what is proving to be a horrendous final season together.
Vettel was asked about this on Thursday, denying that it was even an option.
Are tensions rising over at Ferrari between the team and an underperforming Sebastian Vettel?
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) August 13, 2020
“I don’t think so…we haven’t even considered or spoken about it,” he insisted.
“I guess it’s not just a question for myself. But I know what I’m capable of, I know the job that I can do.
“At the moment, it’s not been the cleanest run, but yeah, I’m sure [if] things calm down, and I get a decent chance, then I’ll use it.”