Vettel Takes one for the Team with Recent Omission

You’re driving for one of the most celebrated, prestigious racing teams in the world. You’re a quadruple Formula One World Champion. Your team is under-performing to the extent that it’s being ripped apart in the press in a gradual amplification of parrot journalism. What do you do? 

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 01: Members of the Ferrari team stand at the front of the garage before practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 1, 2016 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – JULY 01: Members of the Ferrari team stand at the front of the garage before practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 1, 2016 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Vettel has decided to deflect the criticism onto himself, which is the mark of a real team player and a man determined to lead the team, even when it’s not a comfortable position to be in. In a recent interview, the German driver said,

“We’re usually faster in the race than we are in qualifying, but this wasn’t the case today: we were sliding around too much and this affected the tyres as well.

Fifth and sixth place was the best we could do but we obviously can’t accept that, we will be working to improve and we know what to do, the stuff that’s coming up for the next races has always been part of our plan.

The first part of the season didn’t go as we wanted, we need to work on ourselves and I, for one, had too many ups and downs, which cost me some points. But we’ll keep fighting.”

– Sebastian Vettel

There have been a few frustrating scenarios this season in which small errors cost Vettel a higher finish, but it’s refreshing for a driver to admit his own shortcomings at a time in which his team is blasted week-in, week-out by the press, who remain insistent that Ferrari are in crisis.

Vettel led for chunks of the opening race in Australia before Ferrari opted to put him on a very conservative strategy, but the real frustration came as Vettel chased down Hamilton. The gap was dropping significantly until several errors by the German undid all of his hard work.

A similar self-afflicted issue came in China, where Vettel managed to secure 2nd, but only after a collision with his team mate Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap.

The point here is that Vettel is taking the difficult option of admitting his own mistakes. How many drivers would blast their own team and deflect criticism off of themselves?