Ferrari has a “mission” still – Vettel
Sebastian Vettel says that he still has a championship “mission” to complete with Ferrari after missing out on this year’s drivers title. However, he is not sure when he will get a better chance with the team.
The German appeared to be the title favourite earlier in the season before a run of mistakes and error’s cost him points, while title rival Lewis Hamilton stole the match and that allowed him to wrap up the title in Mexico.
Despite this year’s title loss, Vettel insists that the experience has made him even more determined to end Ferrari’s decade-long wait for a drivers championship. He told Sky Sports, “I still have a mission here and I still want to win. That hasn’t changed.”
“Last race was a tough one to swallow and probably the winter will be as well. But giving up is not an option.” Vettel, however, has admitted he missed chances to beat Hamilton. His biggest mistakes this season has been in wheel-to-wheel racing.
Also, Ferrari lost ground to Mercedes when trialling new concepts on their car at the most crucial stretch of the season. Asked if he would get a better opportunity, he said that you never know if you would get another chance.
Adding “You never know what next year brings. Obviously, I’ll work very hard for it and I’m confident it will come but ultimately I don’t know. You can’t predict.”
Vettel and Ferrari has had a number of issues this season, reflexing on that he said that the team needs to learn from it and develop in the right way.
Vettel and Ferrari still have something to play for this season with the Scuderia, F1’s most successful team, still hanging in the hunt for an improbable constructors’ title.
This weekend they must outscore Mercedes by thirteen points to keep there slim title hopes alive.
Bottas partnership greatest in history – Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton believes his partnership with his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas is probably the greatest that as ever existed in Formula One.
Hamilton has won two world titles since Bottas joined Mercedes in 2017 from Williams to replace Nico Rosberg, who Hamilton developed an difficult relationship as they battled each other for titles in a Mercedes which was dominated from 2014-2016.
Bottas has been a strong contender to Hamilton in the first part of the season, before dropping away in the second half of the season. However, like last season consist points scores have allowed Mercedes to get to the brink of a fifth constructors title.
Asked by Motorsport.com, for his thoughts on Bottas’s role in a fifth drivers’ title, Hamilton said: “We have such a huge respect for each other. I see how hard he works, he sees how hard I work, we don’t play games in between to try to throw off the [other] guy.
“In actual fact, we work together. There are times where I’ve figured something out in my set-up and I’ll tell him, and there are times that I can talk to him. It’s the greatest partnership in terms of respect and teamwork from drivers that I’m sure has ever existed in Formula 1 probably.”
While Bottas has been in the number two, or ‘wife’ role as Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff put it, Hamilton has said he would do the same thing should Bottas be in a better position in the championship.
Hamilton added “This year, he started out really strong and then he had some really difficult races. I think Baku, for example, was a huge hit for him. He deserved that win and then he got that tyre blow up.”
“I’m very, very grateful to him as a teammate and for the help that he has given me in achieving this incredible dream, so a big, big thank you to him.”
Verstappen ready to challenge top two
Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner believes that Max Verstappen is ready to challenge both Lewis Hamilton, should the teams partnership with Honda bring the team success.
The Dutchman is ending the season as one of the strongest drivers, with two wins this season and five podiums in the last seven races. The strength of Red Bull’s challenge to Mercedes and Ferrari over recent years has largely been track dependent.
The team are hoping that the switch to Honda will lead them to be able to fight for titles again. Asked if Verstappen was ready to take on Hamilton and Vettel head-to-head if the Red Bull-Honda package delivered over the next few years, team boss Horner replied: “Absolutely.”
He told Sky Sports, “You’ve seen [in Mexico] that if we have an engine that is anywhere near the ballpark of our opponents then I think we’ve got a strong enough team and a strong enough driver package to take the fight to them.”
“We’re obviously hopeful that the Honda, with the progress that they’re making, will put us in a situation that we’re more regularly able to compete like we are here with the optimum downforce on the car and the optimum setting on the car.”
Verstappen had a tough start to the season, where he was involved in a number of accidents in the opening six races of the season. He has only been outscored by the championship’s top two, Hamilton and Vettel, in the 13 races since.
Horner explained “It’s all part of his growth with experience. He went through a tough part at the beginning of the year but, really since Montreal, he’s driven some incredible races.”
“Just with experience, that was really the only missing piece. All drivers make mistakes and it’s what you learn from them.”
Verstappen, despite being only twenty one, is one of the more experienced drivers on the grid. Horner says that he has more to give in the future.
Red Bull have set themselves the target of making him the youngest champion in the sports history, and they will need to do that within the next two years.
F1 may need to leave Silverstone
Formula One’s commercial managing director Sean Bratches has hinted the British Grand Prix may need to leave Silverstone to secure its future. Last year Silverstone bosses activated a break clause in the race’s contract, agreed under F1’s previous ownership, and the 2019 event is the last one under the current deal.
So far there has been no public sign on progress with the new deal. Liberty Media has stated they want to preserve the historic races, but has announced races in Miami and confirmed that Vietnam will join the calendar in 2020.
In an interview issued by F1 ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian GP, Bratches was asked if there was any likelihood of a historic race like Britain or Italy moving to a street track.
Bratches replied: “We’re a 68-year-old entity and the nature of grand prix racing is that it is dynamic. Silverstone was the first grand prix, but we haven’t raced at Silverstone all those 68 years. The race has been held at Brands Hatch and other venues.”
“Nothing is immutable in this sport in terms of where we race. We do value certain races highly and we do what we can to preserve racing there, but we are a business.”
The British Grand Prix is one of two races which were part of the first world championship in 1950 which has been held annually since. But other venues in the country aren’t up to modern F1 standards, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner claimed Liberty was still keen on pursuing a race in London.
Bratches made it clear that city-based GPs have a major appeal to F1 because it puts the racing closer to bigger populations, which is why Vietnam’s race in Hanoi will join Monaco, Singapore and Azerbaijan as a street race.
He added: “We look at it in three ways. Firstly, we want to preserve the heritage races, they are very important to Formula 1 and they are very important to fans.
“Then we have a set of street races and hybrid street races, where we race in parks and on city streets, such as Melbourne, Montreal and Mexico City.
“The third segment features purpose-built facilities such as Shanghai, Austin, Texas and Bahrain.
Ocon turns down chances to race outside F1
Esteban Ocon has turned down the chance to race outside of Formula One next season, even though its looking increasingly likely that he will not be getting a seat on the grid.
The Frenchman’s hopes of remaining in F1 rest with Williams, who are trying to put together the financial package needed to sign him as teammate to George Russell.
But even if that plan does not come off, Ocon says that he and his Mercedes management have decided against looking to race in other categories. It was reported that he was high on the list of two IndyCar teams and linked to Formula E.
Speaking about the interest from other series, Ocon said: “There has been talks that I could race in many different places and I won’t go in details. But we are choosing not to do that.”
Ocon thinks the best thing for him to do in 2019, if he is not racing in F1, is to embed himself within the Mercedes team to gain a better understanding of the outfit, and keep his skills sharp with as much testing as he can do.
The Weekend Ahead
Formula One heads to Interlagos this weekend for the penultimate race of the season. The circuit is a tight and twisty circuit, meaning straight line speed isn’t that important and that downforce is more important. Red Bull was strong in Mexico and that should help them here.
Max Verstappen I think is the more motivated, he hasn’t won races back to back or the same race twice in his career. Qualifying does play a huge factor here, as overtaking can be difficult. This may advantage the smaller teams, especially if its wet.
The weather can play a huge part in the race as the hills drain into the basin at Interlagos, creating rivers across the track. This also means that simple mistakes are more costly here and that they can cause red flags in qualifying and safety cars.
Mercedes are not the favourites here, but they have pulled off races where we didn’t expect them to be strong like in Budapest. However, the question remains… does Lewis Hamilton have the mental attuite and ability to win now he has the title wrapped up?
The next two races are key in the constructors as Mercedes need to finish thirteen points ahead of Ferrari. Mercedes are more likely to wrap the title up either here or in Abu Dhabi, but they as ever know that it’s not over until its sealed.
Formula One Vault will bring you LIVE and full coverage of the Brazilian Grand Prix from 12:45 GMT on Friday with first practice on our LIVE Twitter account @F1VaultLive. We will bring you race coverage from 16:40 on Sunday with the race starting at 17:10 GMT