Sebastian Vettel won’t join Fernando Alonso in declaring that he’s the “best” in F1 as he feels it is “ignorant to neglect or forget” the talent on the grid.
Alonso is back in Formula 1 this season and it is clear that time away from the sport hasn’t dampened his self confidence.
Speaking ahead of his first race weekend since 2018, the Alpine driver proclaimed that he is “better” than anyone else in the sport, even seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
“I think we have a very competitive grid and it will be a challenge to beat everyone on track,” he said in an interview with the BBC.
Asked if he thinks he is as good as his rivals, Alonso replied: “No, I’m better.”
Vettel, who replaced Alonso at Ferrari in 2015 but like the Spaniard wasn’t able to win a championship title with the Scuderia, was asked if he too felt he was the “best” that Formula 1 had to offer.
Unlike the Spaniard, he says that’s not something he would think of himself.
“Maybe I’m not as vain in general,” he told Inews. “I’m happy with my life and what I have achieved.
“I have made mistakes in the past, and admit that I have. But ultimately I don’t think it has always been completely up to me. It is always a combination of things.
“It’s not like I look back and say ‘okay, this year I could have won the championship and I didn’t’.
“In the past five, six, seven years it has been Mercedes at the top and if you wanted to win the championship you had to be in that car.
“Plus the combination obviously of Lewis. I’m not giving any discredit.
“What I am convinced of is that I can be among the best, be the best. I have proven to be that, but that does not give you a guarantee that you are the best every single day.
“It does not sound right to me to sit here and say I’m the best, but if others choose to do so that is okay with me. I have no problem with that.
“But it would be ignorant to neglect or forget the amount of talent that is out there and what other people can do as well, how hard they work, and sometimes, even if I don’t like it, beat me when they are better. Then it’s about how you react.”