Is Sebastian Vettel No Longer the Number One Driver?
When the 2019 Formula One season began, Ferrari appointed Sebastian Vettel as the number one driver for the team. With 19-year-old Charles Leclerc coming over this year from Sauber-Alfa Romeo replacing Kimi Raikkonen, the team knew the young driver’s potential. However, early in his first season with Ferrari, Leclerc had bad luck on his side and needed time to adjust. The race in Bahrain didn’t fare as well as the Ferrari driver could have hoped as he was denied his first victory in Formula One due to mechanical problems near the end of the race. A third-place finish was the best that Leclerc was able to achieve.
After the race in Monza, Italy, the Monegasque driver showed progression in his young career and may have established himself as the number one driver for Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel has made countless errors throughout the season which dates back to June 2018. Ferrari hoped that the German would fix those mistakes and have Ferrari in contention with Mercedes, yet this has not been the case this season.
Sebastian made another mistake this past Sunday in Monza, Italy, which was costly for Ferrari. The German was in fourth behind the two Mercedes drivers and his partner Leclerc in first. It was at this point where he simply lost control of his car and spun out going on the Ascari chicane in the sixth lap. Vettel then made an incorrect decision when rejoining as he collided into the back of the Racing Point of Lance Stroll, who was at the time running in seventh place.
The accident further disrupted Vettel’s race as it created serious damage on his front wing. The driver went into the pit to change his wing and, as a result, was racing in the back of the pack for the rest of the race. The German created no threat to get back into the top ten position and appeared to be the number two driver for Ferrari.
Is It Time for Ferrari to Part Ways with Sebastian Vettel?
Vettel has recently created countless mistakes. Is it time to part ways with the German or do they keep him? He has experienced adversity in his time as a driver and has previously shown the ability to bounce back.
While Sebastian Vettel continues to make his mistakes, Charles Leclerc seems to be stealing the spotlight with Ferrari. In his first season with the team, the driver has continued to grow and become a better driver. This past Sunday in Italy, Leclerc may have driven his best race so far with Ferrari and has finally experienced some good luck. In the past two races, not only has he won and driven great races but the car has not failed him.
Throughout the race, Lewis Hamilton kept challenging Leclerc and had several opportunities to overtake 1st place. While Leclerc made two vital mistakes against Hamilton, he didn’t crack under the pressure, recovering and maintaining his lead with great defending and gave the English man very little space to overtake the Ferrari.
Hamilton’s tires started to give up near the end of the race and, after failing to convert on his chances, the English man made an error which cost him and he finished in third. Valtteri Bottas took over second place but he also made a mistake when attempting to overtake the Ferrari which resulted in Leclerc winning his second race in a row. The young driver continues to improve, showing little pressure, continuing to drive strong races, and is making it harder for Lewis Hamilton to win races recently.
Has Sebastian Vettel Lost the Love for the Sport?
As reported by BBC Sport, when asked if he still had love for the sports “No, not really, I haven’t. I still love what I do but when you’re not doing well when you know you can do well, you can’t be happy” he said. However, based on how he’s driven this year, he seems to have lost his confidence and isn’t the same driver he was when Ferrari signed him. As for his partner Leclerc, he continues to grow confidence and shows his hunger to win every race. While he is still going to experience learning pains, Leclerc continues to show that he is willing to learn and do whatever it takes for him to be the number one for either Ferrari or any other team it may be.
Ferrari started their season with Vettel as the number one driver, however, this may no longer be the case. While the decision may have been the right one at the start due to his experience and Leclerc being young and still learning, his performance so far this season has been sub-par compared to his partner. As for Leclerc, he’s taken full advantage of his opportunity of driving with a big team such as Ferrari and continues to show that he is the number one driver and could lead Ferrari to being number one once again.