F or Sebastian Vettel it has to be like a déjà vu felt. Twelve months ago the German watched in Mexico as Max Verstappen easily cruised to victory and Lewis Hamilton won the title at the same time. This year he got at least one small trophy as a consolation prize on the podium in second place. But the 31-year-old's face spoke volumes.
“There is currently a void. If you have been working towards a goal all year and it is no longer within reach, then that is a terrible moment. It is quite normal to be dejected then, ”said the Ferrari driver with a serious expression. Since Vettel won his first title in Abu Dhabi in 2010 as a blatant outsider, he still believes in his chance even in hopeless situations.
Unfortunately, the miracle did not occur in Mexico. After the title was finally gone, Vettel showed himself to be a very fair loser. The German even interrupted his parc fermé interview with David Coulthard to shake hands with his rival and congratulate him extensively on his fifth championship.
Vettel wants to beat strong Hamilton
“He drove great all year round. He was the better of the two of us. He deserves it ”, Vettel repeated the words of appreciation to the press. “I told him I had a lot of fun fighting him. I asked him to keep giving everything so that next year we can fight against each other at the highest level again. We may be the typevery different. But I admire his performance on the track. The respect is there. Even if it's difficult to admit that, unfortunately there are days when you are not the best. ”
Vettel will need something to digest the World Cup defeat. But the four-time champion was fighting again immediately after the race in Mexico: “At the moment, I may not be the happiest person. But in two weeks I'll be able to get back into the racing car I've always dreamed of. It's one thing to be down. But getting up again is another matter. We have no choice but to attack again. '
And Vettel and Ferrari also have one goal:' The season still has two races. We have a chance to both win. That's what I focus on. We want to take from Mercedes as many points as possible, perhaps to turn the constructors' championship around. I have to put in another strong performance in two weeks' time because that's what all the guys on the track and at home in Maranello deserve. And also all Tifosi who have supported me and the team all year round. ”
Learning effect for next season
He couldn't say where Vettel lost the title this year. “It wasn't a single race. The season consists of 21 races. This year Lewis had the upper hand after 19. We just weren't strong enough in those 19 races. The bottom line was that it wasn't an easy year. We were able to take advantage of most of the opportunities, we left others behind or maybe I left them behind. '
Especially in the second half of the season, Ferrari had to give up:' From Singapore there were a few races where it just wasn't should be. And Lewis did his job and took advantage of it mercilessly. We then fell behind relatively quickly. In the end, the gap turned out to be very large. Perhaps that is not entirely justified. ”
Vettel hopes that the experience from this season will help the Scuderia next season. “We learned a lot this year. Especially the lastWeeks have been very enlightening. They showed that we didn't do everything right. We have to keep our heads up now - not only for the next two races but also for the future. ”
Vettel proves tough duel in Mexico
Mexico became a bit of a reflection of the season. In the race, Vettel seemed to be able to keep up with the speed of winner Verstappen. In the end, however, it was only enough for second place. “Today we couldn't quite show what we can do. I was just too far away after the first few laps. We tried everything, especially in the second stint, to annoy him a little and not let him win that easily. But he still had a few reserves. He was simply the best driver in the race today. ”
Vettel was able to prove with courageous overtaking maneuvers that he has not yet forgotten how to drive. After the spinning in the last races, many an “expert” had already denied him the tough duel. But Vettel wasn't really happy about it: “The race was kind of fun. I was also happy to be able to stand here on the great podium in the middle of the stadium. But still there is disappointment that has nothing to do with the race itself. It's just not a nice day for me. I've seen so many happy faces in the stadium. Unfortunately, I wasn't one of them. '