It is “essential” Ferrari rebuilds Sebastian Vettel’s confidence for next season, reckons ex-Formula 1 team boss Ross Brawn after Vettel’s latest errors in the Italian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel spun at Ascari early on and compounded that error by rejoining unsafely and causing Lance Stroll to spin. The Ferrari driver received a stop/go penalty and three penalty points on his licence, leaving him one major incident from a race ban: “Vettel is clearly one of the greats of our sport, but at this tough time he really needs the support of the team to regain the confidence he seems to be lacking at the moment,” said now-F1 sporting chief Brawn in his regular post-race review “That, as well as pushing on with the car development, has to be a priority for Mattia Binotto in the coming weeks. It won’t be easy, but it is essential especially in terms of 2020.” – he added.
Ross Brawn suspected Sebastian Vettel felt “let down” by Charles Leclerc after the qualifying farce on Saturday, when the Monegasque delayed committing to giving Vettel a slipstream as agreed because drivers were obstructing each other massively to avoid losing out on a tow: “However, what happened in the race was down to him alone,” said Brawn – “Sebastian made two mistakes on lap seven, spinning and then hitting Stroll and the errors look even worse in light of Leclerc’s double victory in Spa and Monza. It’s an unavoidable fact that no matter who the driver is and regardless of how good things are in the team, your first rival is always your team-mate.To a certain extent, Sebastian is experiencing what he felt at Red Bull in his final year there, in 2014, when he found himself up against Daniel Ricciardo, a youngster setting incredible pace.”
Charles Leclerc’s driving came under scrutiny on Sunday because of two moves in particular in defence against Hamilton – one under braking at the Roggia chicane and a jink left at Curva Grande. But Brawn was full of praise for the 21-year-old and said on Sunday he was reminded of the 2003 Italian GP when Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya fought for the win:
“The Ferrari man did not back down and was on the limit of what the rules allow, as great champions always are and have to be. In fact, Leclerc was also very shrewd in the way he handled the situation in that truly bizarre Q3 qualifying session on Saturday. Following on from his win in Spa the previous Sunday, Charles had an incredible weekend. The thing that impresses me most about him is how quickly he learns from everything he does, getting better all the time, as a driver and as a man.”
Ross Brawn also hinted at Charles Leclerc showing signs of emulating seven-time world champion Schumacher after winning at Spa and Monza back-to-back: “The last Ferrari man to do that in these two races was Michael in 1996. Maybe history is beginning to repeat itself.”