Former Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger questioned Sebastian vettel ability to cope with pressure, as the German’s sagging form continues.
Vettel recorded just one podium in 2020 in a final horror season for Ferrari, finishing 13th in the championship and scoring just 33 points, compared to teammate Charles Leclerc’s 98.
He moved to Aston Martin for 2021, but this partnership had a difficult start in Bahrain, with Vettel sent to the back of the grid for not having slowed down enough for the yellow flags in qualifying. The German was only able to finish 15th in the race, during which he was penalized for hitting the rear of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine.
Berger, who won 10 races during his Formula 1 career in the 1980s and 1990s, noted that Vettel struggled for years when he faced a teammate who could match his pace, which was first revealed when Daniel Ricciardo joined Red Bull in 2014.
“Sebastian is a four-time world champion so he’s one of the most remarkable drivers, without a doubt,” Berger told the In the fast lane Podcast.
“But, he never reacts very well to pressure.
“We remember when Daniel came to Red Bull Daniel was very strong and he put pressure on Sebastian.
“For Sebastian, it was difficult to face it.”
Vettel enjoyed a brief renaissance during his first four years at Ferrari, when he was paired with Kimi Raikkonen, who, despite being a former world champion, only won one race when he was Vettel’s teammate.
Once Leclerc settled into Ferrari in the second half of 2019, he really had the measure of Vettel.
“At Ferrari, the same thing, now I feel that he is not free, not relaxed,” said Berger.
“Maybe he wants to prove things, but at the moment it’s not possible because the car is not good enough or his own form is not good enough.
“When you are in this situation you have to sit down, take a step back, and take it slow and success will return.”
Vettel turns 34 in three months, somewhat removed from the 21-year-old who was, at the time, the youngest winner in Formula 1 history when he stunned the motorsport world by winning the Italian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso in 2008.
Berger was Toro Rosso’s boss at the time and believes age could catch up with the four-time world champion.
“It’s at the end of his career, when you’ve done so many races, there comes a time when you’re no longer in the situation where you would like to take all the risks, where you fight like you would fight before you win. any race, ”he said.
“In some ways it just hasn’t worked out well for him, he starts to make mistakes, then people start to question him.
“It’s just, step by step, more and more pressure, and he doesn’t like the pressure.”
The situation at Racing Point could prove difficult for Vettel. His teammate, Lance Stroll, is the son of the team owner, and therefore unlikely to play Vettel’s second fiddle.
Stroll made a solid, albeit unspectacular, start to 2021 in Bahrain, qualifying 10th and finishing in the same position, to earn the team’s first point of the season.
The weekend was marked by comments from team manager Otmar Szafnauer that Aston Martin, along with Mercedes, suffered the most from off-season rule changes, indicating that the team is ready to fight in 2021.
“I think it’s just an awkward situation when you’re on a team and your teammate is faster, and obviously they maybe give your teammate a little more time, but it’s something you have to manage, ”Berger explained.
“I have to say Lance isn’t doing a bad job at all, he’s performing. The only thing right now, I think they’re struggling with the rear of the car, the car doesn’t have the looks very good.
“It’s not really a driver problem at the moment, I think what they have right now is the car is not performing as they expected.”
For a daily dose of the best of the latest news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter in Click here!