Mark Webber has said his former team-mate Sebastian Vettel is susceptible to “meltdowns” when under pressure.
Vettel is currently involved in a fierce battle with Lewis Hamilton as the two drivers fight for a fifth career World Championship.
And, as Vettel prepares for his home grand prix in Germany this weekend with an eight-point lead over his rival, Webber has highlighted key evidence to show that Vettel could self-destruct as the season and title race continues to hot up.
“[Vettel] does have flashes of a meltdown,” Webber told the official Formula 1 podcast.
“Sebastian has had those and does have those. I think he has a plan and often these meltdowns are outside our normal routine of a grand prix. So: Safety Cars.
“Abu Dhabi [in 2012] he’s been off behind the Safety Car, hitting DRS boards,” Webber added. “We saw Azerbaijan.
“So it’s amazing how he has this maximum intense focus and concentration that he can do. Winning off pole off the front, breaking the DRS, that was his signature punch. He was deadly with that.
“But as soon as there was another complication that became a little more tricky.”
Webber also recalled the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, where Vettel, then driving for Toro Rosso, collided with Webber under the Safety Car.
“There was podium for sure, which was unheard of,” Webber said.
“Red Bull and a Toro Rosso on the podium together, this was like, never been done before.
“I pulled up beside Lewis in the last sector saying, mate, the gap to the Safety Car’s ginormous.
“I was looking at him saying come on, the lights are still on, it’s not like we’re doing a restart, we’re still under Safety Car and he was pulling a long way back and mucking around so I pulled up beside him.
“The next minute, boom. Behind the Safety Car [Vettel] just absolutely harpooned the back of me, Sebastian and I went out. I know Seb was bawling his eyes out after that, he was shattered.”
However, Webber did add that that Hamilton also had to take some of the blame for that particular incident.
“Lewis was really at fault to a degree,” added Webber. “He was yo-yoing around. I think McLaren had some different brake material.
“It was a cold day, it was raining, it was a disgusting grand prix. I had food poisoning on the day, I was feeling pretty rough.
“We got through so much of the difficult part of the grand prix. All the aquaplaning. Fernando [Alonso] shunted which was rare. There was a lot of tricky moments throughout that race.”
Webber also revealed that Vettel also gets riled up when there is uncertainty over the tyres and their optimum operating window during qualifying.
He said: “He hated that. Hated that. Because it wasn’t bang, bang, German, what’s clear.
“It’s still a little bit open. Are the tyres ready on the first lap, maybe we’ll do two timed or one timed? He often hated that.”