The day after the Baku race was his lowest point in the season, conceded Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
During the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Vettel lost his composure and drove straight into Lewis Hamilton’s car while both the drivers were getting ready for race restart after a safety car deployment. He believed that Hamilton had intentionally brake tested him in the previous corner. But per FIA’s data, the British driver did nothing out of the ordinary during the restart period.
Vettel did not show any regret immediately after the incident. But later he apologised for his behaviour when he was asked to appear before the FIA to explain his actions. He also apologised to Hamilton in a one-to-one later.
Vettel led the drivers’ ratings until the summer break. After a start collision at the Singapore GP, and reliability issues in the next two races, his chances of winning the championship dried up very quickly.
Speaking ahead of the FIA prize-giving ceremony in Paris, the German said Baku was the lowest point in the season for him.
“The worst feeling I had was after Baku,” he admitted. “Just because I lost the race with something unnecessary. I struggled with that.
“Then you would probably refer to other races such as Singapore and Japan, but I think Singapore [and the collision with Max Verstappen and Kimi Räikkönen], in my point of view, that’s racing. I thought about it a lot on Sunday night, and it wasn’t easy to put behind me, but then what do you do?
“The same in Japan — I don’t know if it’s the literal translation to English, but you can’t hold onto something that is not in your hands. That’s a good fit, and sometimes things are not in your hands, and you have to move forward.
“You struggle generally in life a lot more with things that you messed up rather than those that got messed up for you if you see what I mean.”
Irrespective of his struggles and losses, it is essential to pay attention to how much Ferrari has improved this year, Vettel insisted.
“I think we all want to have the perfect result every single time, but there were races where we [the team] could have done better and races where I could have done better, but there were also races where we should have done a lot worse, and we didn’t.
“Obviously some of the races get highlighted, and you get a lot of praise for it, other times you get a lot of the opposite, but that’s part of the game. I think the more important thing for us drivers — for us as a team — is to understand where we have been strong and where we have been weak.”