Vettel lost for answers and there’s no end in sight to his barren run

‘At least I took part’: Sebastian Vettel lost for answers at British Grand Prix and there’s no end in sight to his barren run

  • Sebastian Vettel suffered a blow to his championship hopes at Silverstone 
  • Any thoughts he had of claiming a fifth world title evaporated on Saturday
  • The 32-year-old will start today’s British Grand Prix from sixth on the grid 
  • It is highly unlikely he will replicate his British Grand Prix triumph of 2018

Sebastian Vettel was surprisingly chipper when he arrived at Silverstone last week. Memories of his victory here last year and that of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in Austria a fortnight ago put a much-needed spring in his step – proof that mighty Mercedes are beatable after all.

‘I’m quite optimistic,’ the German told the media on Thursday, despite sitting 74 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton. ‘I don’t have a reason not to believe (I can win the title). There’s always hope.’

But any lingering thoughts Vettel had of claiming a fifth world title this season surely evaporated on Saturday after a dismal qualifying performance.

Sebastian Vettel was surprisingly chipper when he arrived at Silverstone last week

The 32-year-old will start today’s British Grand Prix from sixth on the grid having been the thick end of a second slower than Mercedes’ pacesetters Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton, and more than half a second adrift of his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc.

For the third race in a row, Vettel — a veteran of more than 220 grands prix — was out-qualified by the 21-year-old Monegasque. For the third race in a row, he failed to crack the top five. It is a concerning habit and one that has Vettel scratching his head.

‘I’ve had worse days – at least I took part,’ he joked. ‘I don’t know what happened, I just didn’t have the speed.

‘Usually you get faster as the day goes on but that didn’t happen today. It’s quite strange, I just didn’t have a great feel for the car. Charles did a good job but for me I don’t really have an answer. Around here you need a good feeling to throw the car from one corner to the other but it didn’t come to me.

It is highly unlikely Vettel will replicate his British Grand Prix triumph of 2018

‘The races are normally fine so I’m looking forward to tomorrow, but I’m not happy today.’

Neither is his boss at Ferrari, Mattia Binotto, for whom the excuses are starting to wear thin. Vettel has not won a race since the Belgian Grand Prix last August, with just eight podiums from the 17 races since then.

‘Charles did a fantastic job,’ said Binotto, before adding pointedly: ‘Sebastian was a bit less comfortable and it’s something we need to analyse. He wasn’t as good as Charles and that’s something we have to look at.’

Jose Mourinho was a guest of the Scuderia yesterday. After qualifying, it took the former Manchester United manager 20 minutes to walk the few yards between the team’s garage and the paddock exit as he fulfilled requests for autographs and selfies. Such a sluggish exit seemed rather fitting.




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