For Vettel, this is a frustrating period as many believe he is past his prime.
Charles Leclerc has handily outperformed four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, in the fledgeling Ferrari in the 2020 season. Even in the latest Portuguese GP, Leclerc came a solid P4 while Vettel limped home in P10 finally scoring the last available point. This discrepancy in the performance of the two drivers combined with the fact that Vettel’s stint with Ferrari concludes at the end of the season has led people to question if both are getting the same machinery. In fact, Vettel has triggered some of this chatter after the race in Portimao with his comments to RTL sparking the debate.
“On the one hand, I’m satisfied because I had the feeling that I drove a good race,” he said. “I had a hard time in the beginning, lost places, and almost lost the car two or three times. After that, I actually drove a good race. But, on the other hand, it is obvious that the other car is much faster. Where I lose time? I have been biting my tongue all year long. Some idiot might never figure it out, but am I a complete idiot? I doubt it. At some point, you should be lucky and hit the limit. I never hit it and if I do, then only with a lot of difficulties. On the other side [of the garage] it looks much easier,” said the 33-year-old, who joins the Aston Martin team in 2021.
Vettel’s insinuations were however quickly crushed by Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto who claimed both drivers are getting access to the same car. “Seb and Charles’ cars are identical, no doubt,” he told Sky Italia. “I sincerely hope that Sebastian will be able to qualify better in Imola, and show more of what he is capable of during the race,” the Ferrari team boss added.
In fact, Binotto further said that the team is hoping for more performance from its second driver. Before the race in Portimao, Vettel had admitted that Leclerc’s pace was in a different league as his. Ferrari for its part has been bringing updates to the car which have improved the performance. In fact, Enrico Cardile at Ferrari has said for the rest of the season the team expects to be running within the top 6.
For Vettel, this is a frustrating period as many believe he is past his prime. In fact, despite being the third most successful driver in the history of the sport — Vettel is considered to be an inferior driver to both Schumacher and his peer Hamilton who broke Schumacher’s record at Portimao becoming the most successful driver of all time.
“I have to look at myself and do my thing, but of course it hurts. Especially because my own expectations are higher than the expectations from outside. I don’t really care about all the fuss. But for me in the car, it is of course difficult to process, because I am too ambitious and too hungry for more,” Vettel told RTL.