Vettel says it out loud: ‘We’ve failed!’
During his six-year tenure with Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel delivered 14 wins to the Scuderia, but the German driver won’t call his inability to bring the world title back to Maranello during that period anything else but a failure.
Vettel joined Ferrari in 2015 as a four-time world champion and a 39-time Grand Prix winner with Bull Bull.
At the time, the high-profile transfer signaled an exciting new chapter in Vettel’s career and the prospect of team and driver fighting on equal terms with the mighty Mercedes squad.
But owing to Vettel’s well chronicled mistakes and Ferrari’s own performance and operational shortfalls, the pair’s supreme ambition remained unfulfilled, season after season, while Mercedes continued relentlessly to execute at the highest level year in and year out.
“It still doesn’t change anything,” said Vettel, referencing his 14 race wins with Ferrari. “We’ve still failed.
“We had the ambition and target to win the championship. And we didn’t, so I think it’s just an honest reflection. I don’t think saying it out loud changes anything.
“Probably we were up against a very strong team/driver combination, one of the strongest we’ve seen so far. But our goal was to be stronger than that. And in this regard, we have failed. Like I’ve said, there are reasons for it.
“We’ve had good races, bad races, we’ve got close, sometimes we’re far away. There’s a lot of reasons why, but in the big picture, I think it’s not unfair, it’s just the truth. Nothing wrong with saying it out loud.”
The reasons for the shortfall are multiple and include a few costly mistakes from Vettel at crucial moments, like at Hockenheim in 2018 when he spun out of a commanding lead.
But the German denies that pressure – often a decisive factor at Ferrari – was the cause of his errors.
“I don’t know if I buy into the pressure thing, I think pressure you put on yourself,” he said. “So as I said, I had the clear mission and target to win.
“I think I have obviously an emotional attachment to the team, growing up seeing Michael win, etc… So it was a very special moment when I joined the team.
Read also: Vettel mystified by qualifying gap to Leclerc
“But the pressure thing, I think also the fact of the pressure in Italy, the fans and so on, yes, it is there. But ultimately I always set the highest sort of expectations on myself, and I think I was the first and best judge if I didn’t achieve them.
“So rest assured that, when I stuffed the car in the gravel in Germany [in 2018], I wasn’t happy before the tifosi weren’t happy.
“I think it sounds nice, and it adds a little bit of drama to everything. But I’m definitely not holding that as an excuse for coming short here and there.
“I think if you are ambitious to win, and you have the target to win and to succeed, then you’re the first one to realise that yourself, and it isn’t depending on the pressure from outside.
“But having said that, everybody’s different. But for me it wasn’t the one thing holding us or holding me back.”
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