Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Hamilton deserves sixth world championship, says Vettel

2019 Japanese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel says there is no question Lewis Hamilton deserves to win the world championship, which he looks increasingly likely to do for a sixth time this year.

Following a strong pre-season performance by Ferrari, Mercedes seized the imitative at the start of the season, and Hamilton won eight of the first 12 races.

Asked whether his rival deserves another championship given how strong his equipment has been, Vettel said: “No he does.”

“I think obviously Mercedes had the best car the last couple of years,” said Vettel. And I think there are other drivers that could have had a very good chance at winning a championship.

“But it’s more than that. It’s a combination of that. As much as I didn’t enjoy the years where he was winning, especially when we were fighting – not so much towards the end as I would have loved to – you have to appreciate the fact that it’s the combination.

“It’s not just Mercedes and it’s not just Lewis. It’s the combination of the two that have got to a point where they are very, very difficult to beat. Very consistent, very little errors.

“So that’s credit to him and credit to the team so I don’t think you can separate the two. I think it’s fair to mention always the two of them.”

Vettel remains one of four drivers who can mathematically beat Hamilton to this year’s title, but he is 128 points behind with 130 available over the rest of the season. Valtteri Bottas is 73 points behind Hamilton, Charles Leclerc is 107 adrift and Max Verstappen trails by 110.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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34 comments on “Hamilton deserves sixth world championship, says Vettel”

  1. Magnanimous of SV!
    Ferrari do seem to favour the implosion of any advantages gained after the mid season break.

  2. “I think obviously Mercedes had the best car the last couple of years”


    1. Yeah I know right. It’s not just a couple of years.

    2. It’s completely wrong, mercedes had the clear best car in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, he said last couple of years and even that is wrong, as 2018 it was even with ferrari.

  3. Well yeah – Seb knows what it’s like to win Championships by being the number 1 driver in the fastest car…..

    1. Maybe, but nothing like the advantage Merc has shown these past 6 years. Seb’s 1st title, he led championship once, after the last race. Even in years he won, it was not a 100% forgone conclusion Red Bull would win like it has been for Merc. I blame the F1 rules makers for locking up a huge engine advantage for a single team. Quite easy to produce a great car when you can just crank on more down force than competitors. They love to act like it is close, until it comes to quali and race then their dominance pops up with party modes. A couple of races in the past years Merc intentionally threw away as the one sided advantage got too great, then would say, not sure why we had an off weekend, but look, we are beatable.

      1. He only led the championship once in 2010 because of his own doing. The Red Bull was head-and-shoulders the best car, probably a similar measure to Mercedes this season. It got 16 pole positions in a season without DRS and designed-to-degrade tyres, Vettel should have won it easily, even with some of the reliability mishaps.

        I blame the F1 rules makers for locking up a huge engine advantage for a single team

        Have you been watching this season? Mercedes hasn’t had the best power unit since 2017, and the fact that Ferrari was able to catch up and surpass them shows that nothing is “locked” when it comes to performance.

        1. 2017?! Probably to you BEST PU/CAR = most HP and fastest car in Quali. To be honest, in 2017 the Ferrari PU wasn’t the best be it even just for the reliability factor.

          1. Think he means till 2017 merc had the best PU, then no more, which is right.

          2. @mg1982 Since 2017, so Ferrari have been leading in this department after that.

    2. @petebaldwin Well Vettel was the #1 driver in an equal car in 2017 and the overall fastest car in 2018. He managed to throw away both those titles by a barrage of blunders. So, as Vettel says, it’s indeed clearly more than just having a fast car.

      1. As Seb said, it’s combination of being the best driver and having the best car. Hamilton has had the best car (or at least a title winning car, 2018 maybe was slightly below Ferrari but not by much at all) all the years since 2014, but also he’s been the best driver in that period, hence the (soon to be) 5 titles compared to 1 for his teammates. I do think though, that Hamilton’s had it much easier than Vettel had it – the Merc has overall been more dominant compared to the field than the Red Bull was (and whenever a team has been able to challenge, it’s been a combination of team/driver errors that still made it comfortable for him), but still, he had to beat a better driver than Webber in Rosberg to get 2 of them, and probably Bottas is a bit better than Webber too.

      2. @f1osaurus

        2017 and the overall fastest car in 2018

        Mercedes were by far the best team and at no point were Ferrari dominant.
        Verstappen deserves a better car. Driver of the season easily.

        1. @bigjoe Well, as usual, you’re wrong. For 2018 it’s abundantly clear. Ferrari had the faster car in Bahrain, China, Azerbaijan, Monaco, Canada, Austria, GB, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, USA, Mexico. That’s 14 out of the 21 races.

          Of course Vettel blundered away Baku, Austria, Germany, Monza, USA and he performed poorly in quali for Hungary (ok it was wet) and Singapore.

          So indeed his poor performance might make it look like Mercedes was dominating, because they (or rather Hamilton) were indeed winning most of those races, but Ferrari did have the faster car.

    3. Hell yeah – and he did not even give away any to his #2 driver Weber, as HAM did to Nico…

      1. And as someone just said above, rosberg > bottas > webber, which has to be considered.

        1. @esploratore

          Those drivers were nowhere near in the same league as Verstappen. They are not even as good as Ricciardo who Lewis didn’t want at Mercedes. Both those two drivers beat Lewis in slower cars and a lesser team.

  4. Vettel pretty much summed up Hamilton’s career in the turbo hybrid era of F1. When every driver has won championships, and multiple championships, it has been the combination of team/car/driver performance that has prevailed.
    Whether its Senna, Schumacher, Prost, and even Vettel himself. In every instance it is true. The impressive statistic, is that it looks so easy, so routine. Its only when you look back, thats when you really appreciate what these guys have achieved as atheletes.

    1. Almost always, the WDC needed the WCC car to win it all. Of course you’re right it is always the team/car/driver combo. Mercedes has had the only WCC car in the hybrid era.

    2. Definitely agree. But have to say 2010-2013 was a lot more competitive. Red Bull never had this big an advantage as Mercedes has had in especially 2014-2016. Those cars are the most dominant cars of all time.

  5. “So that’s credit to him and credit to the team so I don’t think you can separate the two. I think it’s fair to mention always the two of them.”

    This is more true for Vettel and Redbull than Lewis and Mercedes. Lewis was a proven Mclaren World Champion (almost double WC) when he came to Mercedes. No doubt the car is very important but to match the pace and consistency of Lewis is a very very tough job. Just look at the number of errors Ferrari drivers made this season.

    1. Very true. Is easy to forget that Hamilton could have been champion in 2007, his first season in F1. Then again, the same could be said of Fernando Alonso. Vettel had some impressive campaigns, such as 2010’s championship battle with Alonso which went to Abu Dhabi and to the wire. Also, Vettel had Mark Webber in the sister car fighting him tooth a nail for years. It wasn’t always plain sailing for Vettel either. Turkey 2010 and Sepang 2013 spring to mind, then he had Ricciardo as a team mate and that did not go well for him. Compare that to Kovalainen and Bottas for example.
      When Hamilton has had good quality drivers such as Alonso, Button, and Rosberg within the team fighting him, that is a true test of his skill. It’s a pity Alonso had not stayed at McLaren longer, his fight with Lewis is still fun to watch on YouTube all these years later.

      1. 2010 was an impressive campaign for Vettel? Had several clashes and underperformed in the race, despite having pole. Spain and Monaco he was outclassed by Webber, Turkey was his fault and cost the team a 1-2, messed up the start in Germany, got an unnecessary penalty in Hungary, clashed with Button in Spa which was 100% his fault and messed up qualifying in Singapore once more. Not what I’d call a great campaign. Especially when you only beat a driver of Webber’s calibre by 14 points at the end.

    2. Wow, obviously this comment is not from a real driver who has raced competitively. Go to a track, try racing a car that is just way better and try to compete. Driver in best car easily drives within the limits and effortlessly holds back lesser cars. Everyone else must drive over the limit to try and stay close. F1 has had a completely skewed competitive advantage for Merc for way too long. Any number of drivers could have won in that car. Lewis is a great driver, nearly mistake free, but his car is his greatest strength, just listen to him whine the minute he gets put under any pressure.

      1. You say he “whines” under pressure…yet he almost always deals with said pressure and comes out on top. Dealing with pressure situations is one of Lewis’ greatest strengths. If It takes “whining”, as you call it, for him to deal with that pressure then so be it. As long as he deals with it successfully who are you to question it?

      2. Yea, do you know who also whines? Clark, Senna, MS, Ham, Max. They seek out every little flaw, nag at it, and try to get it corrected. And then when that’s done, they find more faults and areas to improve on. They never stop ‘whining’……….. or winning.

      3. Better whining than spinning/crashing

      4. Too true and Senna or Schumacher would never have got beaten by drivers in slower cars as much as Lewis has.

  6. Whoever has been ‘best,’ the fact is the Ferrari has been close enough to the Mercedes the past three years for drivers and teams (through tactics, efficiency) to make a difference and win both championships. And Hamilton/Mercedes have won both competitions every year. This year has been more down to Ferrari not resolving their aero issues until too late, though they had good chances to win races that they threw away. The previous two seasons were largely down to Vettel’s mistakes. And let’s be honest, if Ferrari had swapped out Raikkonen for a driver who outperformed Vettel as Leclerc has done, they’d have been far closer to winning the WDC and WCC both those years. You can do a YouTube compilation of all the spins Vettel has had these past three seasons. While Hamilton has flat-spotted his tyres a few times (offered as a genuine equivalent to Vettel’s mishaps by some fans here – !!). And gone off once, under heavy rain, on the wrong tyres, with a bad flu. I know criticism of him as seen as some kind of evil persecution of the guy, but TBH I think Vettel gets an easy ride. It’s been Grosjean levels of calamity.

    1. No I think the LH/Mercedes team and car have just been too strong for the SV/Ferrari team and car. Again, since it is a combination of driver, team, and car we have to consider that aside from SV’s mistakes, they also made strategic mistakes as a team, and they also had more unreliability than Mercedes. You just can’t do that against Mercedes and is why they have had the only WCC car in the hybrid era. You can’t segregate SV as the sole reason when the combination of strategic errors and unreliability would also cause problems against a team that rarely makes a strategic error or has unreliability.

      1. The thing is in 2017 and 2018 Ferrari/Vettel were ahead in the first part of the season. In 2017 it was the Singapore crash of both Ferraris that altered the balance of the season. There’s also a clear interplay between team errors and driver errors, so when the team makes strategy errors, or the car loses performance, drivers can overcompensate on track and make mistakes, while driver errors can force the team into pushing components too far or take design risks that don’t work out. 2017 was a classic mix of both for Ferrari. 2018 again it was the Monza mess up and Vettel’s spin that altered the balance of the season. Mercedes do make mistakes as a team, Hamilton very few, and that I think is the real difference. It takes pressure of the team by being consistent and sometimes the driver (HAM) recovering from the team’s mistakes. Instead of that you’ve got Vettel twice this season spinning round on track in dry race conditions with nobody touching him (Bahrain and Monza). Aside from being very strange, that’s just not good enough for the lead driver in the fastest car (probably). Cars are highly complex, likewise team strategy, involving a lot of people, meaning that the chances of error are proportionally high. So having a consistent, virtually error-free driver is the bare minimum I think, as Verstappen had been at Red Bull for almost a year until mid-season, and Leclerc looks like being able to achieve at Ferrari.

  7. Just because he’s obviously better then vettel he thinks this

  8. Well said mr Vettel well said and when Hamilton was at McLaren people tend to forget Lewis hammer Hamilton had a Mercedes Benz engine in the car and that is what Vettel was referring to

  9. I think Lewis will win the sixth title because of the commitment and targets that he has set for himself. He dedicated himself to F1 career and to the Mercedes team. The love of his sport and his “never give-up” attitude also makes him a winner. His fighting spirit makes him a competitive athlete. The sith championship is waiting, go glab it Lewis!! Good luck.

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