In Italy, and not only, Sebastian Vettel has been widely criticized. According to many insiders, the German driver should have been less rash in his attempt to overtake Max Verstappen at Suzuka and should have also been even more pragmatic on other occasions.
However, one of the most experienced journalists of the Circus, Michael Schmidt, Auto Motor und Sport correspondent for F1 racing for over twenty years, has defended his compatriot: “He had to pass Verstappen as fast as possible” – the journalist wrote in his blog – “And he had to do it exactly in that corner. Vettel needed the element of surprise and one of those few moments when he had the battery fully charged, while his opponent did not. Only in those moments would there be a chance to take down the bastion built by the Dutchman”. Ultimately, the third place or the sixth would not have changed anything, because instead of -67 it would have been less than 60 from the rival for the championship. Should he have waited? Yes, only if the GP of Japan had been up for grabs, but this time the stakes were bigger, with the world title in play.
“He was forced to beat Hamilton, shortening the gap in the standings, instead of letting it grow again” – Still regarding the missed pass, Schmidt adds: “If Verstappen had seen the Ferrari car a fraction of a second later, the surprise maneuver would have worked. He did not expect this attack, which is shown by the fact that he had left the door open. Claiming that Vettel could have overtaken Verstappen later, with the DRS and the surplus power of the Ferrari engine before the chicane or at the end of the straight, is an absurdity. At that moment he would not have succeeded. If the Dutchman had seen Vettel’s intentions, he would have been covered in those parts”.
Michael Schmidt also explained that the internal fight in Ferrari may have consequences for next year: “It does and it would be fatal if Ferrari doesn‘t solve it quickly. Because Vettel would be going into the 2019 season with again a gap to Mercedes. Sometimes you only have to look at the body language. You rarely see Binotto/Arrivabene together, which is weird. If you look at the Ferrari motorhome, you see Binotto sitting on the one side, and Maurizio on the other side. It looks like two seperate teams.” – Michael Schmidt concluded.