Team mate battles 2020: The final score – Vettel vs Leclerc

2020 F1 season review

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Last year, over the course of their first season as team mates, the pendulum swung from Sebastian Vettel to Charles Leclerc. Once Leclerc began consistently out-qualifying his vastly more experienced team mate from around mid-season it was only a matter of time that he would draw ahead in the points standings, and so it proved.

The rising star was an obvious threat to the senior driver at the team. Vettel must has seen the writing on the wall at the end of last year when Ferrari inked a long-term deal with the sophomore racer who’d just upstaged him.

Perhaps it ultimately made no difference that the start of this year’s championship was postponed and that during the hiatus Ferrari took the surprise decision not to extend Vettel’s contract. Alternatively, had the season begun on time, perhaps he could have driven his way out of the dilemma by putting Leclerc in the shade.

We can only speculate, but the fact of the matter is once the season belatedly began, Leclerc had the upper hand to a remarkable degree, even more so than he did during his best races in 2019.

The SF1000 will rank as one of the worst cars to come out of Maranello, yet in Leclerc’s hands it achieved flashes of respectability. His second place in the season-opener looked good at the time but was even more impressive in the context of what followed. He only made one further visit to the podium – at Silverstone, thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s puncture. There should have been another in Turkey, but he over-committed himself trying to pass Sergio Perez on the final lap and opened the door for Vettel to reach the rostrum for the first time in over a year.

Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Leclerc crashed into Vettel seven days after round one heroics
Leclerc admitted at the end of the year there had been a few times where he made optimistic moves in his attempt to wring more points out of the car than it perhaps deserved. This was one of them, another was his ill-judged attack on his team mate in the second race at the Red Bull Ring which put both out.

But usually he was too far ahead of Vettel for this to be possible. At times the gap between the pair was so wide it was almost hard to believe, given Vettel’s remarkable track record from earlier in his career. Leclerc was on average four-tenths of a second quicker than Vettel in qualifying (based on representative sessions) and reached Q3 11 times to his team mate’s three.

At the final race Vettel opined that no other team had this kind of performance difference between its two cars. That isn’t quite true – Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi were further behind their respective team mates – but even so it was surprising to see Vettel struggling this badly.

He made it clear, however, that he has nothing but respect for Leclerc’s abilities. Ferrari certainly have no cause to doubt that, despite casting a four-times champion aside, they still have a driver who can wring the best from what they hope will be a much better car in 2021.

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Positive gap: Charles Leclerc was ahead; Negative gap: Sebastian Vettel was ahead

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Vettel and Leclerc race-by-race summary

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Sebastian VettelQ
R
Charles LeclercQ
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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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109 comments on “Team mate battles 2020: The final score – Vettel vs Leclerc”

  1. Yeah, this one was pretty clearly one sided. Vettel almost never looked like a pro driving the car. Only in Turkey it seemed he might have enjoyed it a bit, and was able to carry over some of that optimism and confidence into the first race in Bahrain to do solidly there in qualifying and end at least on a somewhat respectable note.

    I hope their new pairing will have a better teamwork. Afterall Sainz experienced first hand how destructive the inner team battle can work out when he was at STR with Verstappen. And he was part of the great team spirit, cooperation and mutual respect we saw at McLaren the last 2 years. Surely the team must hope that Sainz brings this spirit with him, because I think that is what Ferrari has been missing the most in the past few years – a feeling of being one team, working together as a team.

    1. Sainz was the #1 at McLaren and Norris was often used as a stop gap for Sainz to gain positions (best example is 2019 Monaco), in that scenario its easy for Sainz to work well with his teammate and during this season he have had locked that Ferrari seat from very early on. It will be a different story once he gets to Ferrari and will be the #2. He might bring some of it with him, but I don’t see the last two years as being a marker for Sainz being corporative.
      But no doubt Ferrari needs it.

      1. I would change your sentence

        Sainz was the #1 at McLaren and Norris was often used as a stop gap”

        By something like

        By the end of lap one Sainz was often the first McLaren and Norris was then used as a stop gap”

        Which I think is more accurate imo, and Sainz played team too when it was the other way around.

    2. your logic is a bit flawed in my view as Ferrari got rid of the teamplayer keeping it all together .Charles was at ease to play questionable games when Vettel at least tried to even things,out in 2019 and,always,found ways,to keep a good working relationship.
      The Leclerc /Sainz pairing will fail if they,are close competitors on track as Charles is just like Max in intrateamfights …he,is just not a teamplayer.

  2. For Vettel, the nightmare couldn’t end soon enough. I have a feeling he’ll have a resurgence of sorts next year in the AM against Stroll Jr. That’ll further cement the notion that, when pitted against competent team mates Vettel can’t cope with them and suddenly loses form / has an off season.

    1. I think with Vettel it is more a case of having a narrow window of car handling where he feels comfortable.

      When he’s in that window, he is as fast as anyone out there.

      But he struggles when he is outside it. This isn’t a new thing. He was weak in the first half of the 2013(?) season until Red Bull found the consistent rear grip he wanted and he ended up dominating the remainder of the season.

      He has never looked comfortable in the hybrid era, 2014 was horrible (and the car was not very competitive in Ricciardo’s hands either), 2020 has been equally horrible (again, in a generally uncompetitive car), and many of the Ferrari years included weird mid-corner spins.

      I hope he is more comfortable in the green Mercedes because it would be a shame to see a four time champion struggling at the back again.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        16th December 2020, 12:45

        +1.

      2. How was the Red Bull 2014 “horrible” and “not competitive” in Ricciardo’s hands? He won 3 races! More than Verstappen did this season. Plus 5 more podium places. 6 if you count Australia. It wasn’t going to win the WDC perhaps, but Ricciardo ended P3 in the championship. Best of the rest!

        The problem is that Vettel is not competitive even in a good car. 2017 and 2018 in hands of Ricciardo would have won the WDC. I would say even 2019 was possible with Ferrari having the fastest car for Bahrain, Baku, Canada, Austria, Spa, Monza, Singapore, Russia, Japan and Mexico. Yet they embarrassingly managed to win only 3 of those.

        1. @f1osaurus Lol still putting your foot on LH’s throat in your incessant need to put your foot on SV’s throat I see. You do realize that in your extreme efforts to shoot down SV you are saying DR is an LH beater, right? You are saying that LH wouldn’t have won the majority of the races such as he did in the last halves of 2017 and 2018, because DR would have been better than him (and SV) in that Ferrari. Alrighty then. So you have LH squandering the WCC car two years in a row…make that three…I see you have even included 2019. Ah but I guess you think DR would have been so good at Ferrari he would have made them the WCCers, and taken that mantle away from Mercedes. Hmm…I guess LH just fluked those Championships then and was only lucky DR wasn’t at Ferrari. Because DR has soooo many wins and Championships to back that up. Ya. Ok. For someone with so few wins and never a sniff at a Championship, you sure think highly of DR. You’re obviously a bigger fan of his than of LH.

          1. @robbie

            You do realize that in your extreme efforts to shoot down SV you are saying DR is an LH beater, right? You are saying that LH wouldn’t have won the majority of the races such as he did in the last halves of 2017 and 2018, because DR would have been better than him (and SV) in that Ferrari.

            That’s not what I took from the OP. In a nutshell he’s assuming the championship would have been more competitive- maybe even more in Ferrari’s favour during 2017 and 2018 when Ferrari had the upper hand in several races. In any case, even if the OP is claiming that Ricciardo would have won- I don’t see how that is sticking the boot into Lewis because either:
            a) that would prove Ferrari did have the best car in those ears which some pundits believe or
            b) Ricciardo is a WDC material driver, which again

            I don’t see why a) and b) have to be mutually exclusive with Hamilton’s talents. Either way this is all academic.

          2. @robbie Your “logic” (and I rolled on the floor typing that) is just as ridiculous as it always is.

            Ricciardo is clearly a lot better than Vettel and he also beat Verstappen yes. Not sure where the argument could be there.

            The 2017, 2018 and 2019 Ferrari were on average better than Mercedes. I guess that is harder for you to follow since Vettel performed so poorly with it, but that’s just the point. Vettel’s points “wastage” was huge. A driver like Ricciardo (specifically the subject of the discussion started by David) or Alonso who don’t make such a huge amount of mistakes like Vettel does every season, would have taken the WDC’s with it. Heck even Bottas would probably have (especially 2017 and 2018). Not sure about Verstappen since he makes so many mistakes as well. Even more so in his earlier seasons.

            If you are insinuating that Ricciardo might also beat Hamilton in equal machinery. Then maybe he could yes. Who knows? Not sure how that matters in this case.

            Apart from that, again, please stop trying to pretend that you are clever. You clearly have an IQ well below average.

          3. @f1osaurus In typical Trumposaurus fashion, you are the last one that should be speaking of logic, but then that’s how your ilk operate. If you actually rolled on the floor, you’ve got issues. But then that’s obvious. You, like other careless observers, find ways to join the dots at your convenience to suit an argument, and then claim a slam dunk, over pure speculation. DR bested SV in one unique season, and thus forever DR is better than SV, who actually has 4 WDC’s, by your logic. I could then use your same logic to say that in 2015, for a fact, Kvyat bested DR, so therefore, using your metric, Kvyat is better than SV. Of course if they were paired together again, which would automatically be under different circumstances, there is no guarantee that DR would best SV again. Other than for you and you alone. In my world the pairing would actually have to happen, and then we’d see how comfortable each driver was in the car, and then we’d take it a race at a time and see how the season unfolds. To you, you can already devine the answer, and would hand out the trophy before the season even began.

            DR beat Verstappen? Need we even go there in sussing out how much license you are taking with that statement? There’s only two choices here…you are either naive and unknowledged, or you yourself know you are taking license. If anything, the DR/MV experience supports my point above about the DR/SV pairing. Exactly what year and what circumstances are we talking about? The years when Max was making youthful errors and handing DR the points? Or the years when Max sorted himself out and slammed DR to the weeds with his numbers of qualifying ahead, laps lead ahead, points etc etc. Just because it is one way in one season, or one part of one season, does not write in stone the way it will always be between two drivers. Surely you have to know that. Surely if DR beat Max, full stop, as you vaguely choose to portray, he would have had no difficulty being the teams prime driver and staying there to keep that status up, relegating Max to their number two. After all, you still have in your imagination that Max makes too many mistakes.

            Your claim of 2017, 18, 19 of Ferrari better on average is also taking total license of course. The facts are there to totally debunk that, including who actually won the WDC and WCC in those years. But I guess to you that is meaningless and LH wasn’t the rightful winner. He only won because SV dropped the ball. The fact is LH and SV almost equalled each other in wins in the first half of 2017 and 2018, which is why I personally never thought LH and Mercedes weren’t going to have an answer to a seemingly resurgent Ferrari, and sure enough they totally dominated the second halves of those two seasons. But of course by your logic all you need is a sniff of a Ferrari being strong in one stint of one race to then go on to try to sell a point that Ferrari were almighty all year long, and it was strictly SV alone that threw things away. You do realize you stand alone in your argument, right?

            Anyway, it is quite funny to read you still digging in and claiming Ferrari was so good in those years that DR, or FA, or even now VB lol, would have beaten LH in it. The LH that won almost all the races in the last halves of 2017 and 2018. But not Max though, lol. No, Max in a Mercedes beater would have made mistakes sitting out front all by himself, you know, like the race last weekend lol.

            Then of all things you suggest I’m insinuating that DR might also beat LH in equal machinery? Uh, no, I’m responding to your ridiculousness that DR would have beat everyone and won the WDC in 17 and 18 in SV’s Ferrari, and of course you have conveniently forgotten that that entails beating LH in his Mercedes. You know… the ones that actually won the WCC for 7 years straight now. But wow, you sure think highly of DR, FA, and now VB, for being able to conquer LH in his Mercedes. And you sure don’t think much of LH’s achievements then. It simply came down to Ferrari not having DR, FA, or VB in their car, so…lucky for LH then. Ok you run with that. I’m not even an LH fan and I disagree that he was only lucky that Ferrari didn’t have a better driver than SV, such was their dominance in car performance. For you to be right, for SV to have squandered such a world beater of a car, wow, I’m so surprised there weren’t hundreds and hundreds of headlines about such an historic dropping of the ball by SV. Such utter failure at squandering the WCC level car.

            In terms of pretending to be clever, let’s face it, you win the Championship on that. In cleverly manipulating reality to suggest what an abject failure SV is, you’ve brought LH down to merely being lucky there wasn’t a better driver in the Ferrari in 2017, 2018, and even 2019. Even VB would have beaten him. Way to go. Way to support your fave driver. Clever you.

          4. @robbie You have got to be kidding me. Bugger off with your nonsense

          5. @f1osaurus Lol your usual intelligent retort when you’ve got nothing.

          6. @robbie Lol, yeah keep telling that to yourself. Like I’m really going to read all that nonsense you just posted and waste my time replying. retort to yourself numbnut

          7. @f1osaurus Ah yes, your usual Trumpian retort. If you didn’t want to waste time you could have simply not posted the nonsense you did to begin with. Post nonsense and you’re going to get feedback, and when you do get debated you deflect and insult ala Trump.

          8. @robbie Lol I get debated?!?!?!?

            Did you read the garbage you posted and how both blazz and myself destroyed that rubbish?

            Seriously, I love a good debate. You are just to low IQ to offer any informed opinion. You seriously have never posted anything with any merit whatsoever. Unfortunately you think you do, but seriously just read it again and feel the shame creep up on your cheeks:

            Lol still putting your foot on LH’s throat in your incessant need to put your foot on SV’s throat I see. You do realize that in your extreme efforts to shoot down SV you are saying DR is an LH beater, right? You are saying that LH wouldn’t have won the majority of the races such as he did in the last halves of 2017 and 2018, because DR would have been better than him (and SV) in that Ferrari. Alrighty then. So you have LH squandering the WCC car two years in a row…make that three…I see you have even included 2019. Ah but I guess you think DR would have been so good at Ferrari he would have made them the WCCers, and taken that mantle away from Mercedes. Hmm…I guess LH just fluked those Championships then and was only lucky DR wasn’t at Ferrari. Because DR has soooo many wins and Championships to back that up. Ya. Ok. For someone with so few wins and never a sniff at a Championship, you sure think highly of DR. You’re obviously a bigger fan of his than of LH.

          9. @f1osaurus Keep proving me right with your empty insults, Trumposaurus. I’ll happily stand by what I have said and all you can do is insult and re-post what I have said. Clever.

          10. @robbie That is the problem with you. Even when multiple people explain how dumb your rants are, you still don’t get it.

        2. You serious? Did you see 2014 season? Ricciardo is average driver. He was just lucky. Why he couldn’t make that great RB overtakes now? A, yes, the car is not 2 second faster like it was before . And now he was afraid of losing to Alonso in the same team, switched the team otherwise just need to finish his career.
          Seb in 2008 showed what it takes to win in rain in a completely underperforming car. I think in 2014 Seb had already said to the team that he is leaving RB and that is why his car were not saw the cheering flag enormously several times.

          1. Did you see 2014 season? Vettel finished ahead of him only twice.

          2. JohnF! The fact is that in 2014 Seb no longer had a car that resembled his 4 year Championship car in any way shape or form. That had to be really hard to take, and hard to adapt to. DR on the other hand had been promoted up to the team post-Webber, and to him it was a big jump and was his first chance on a top team, and it would have felt amazing to him. Best car he’d ever been in.

            Seb acknowledges the good job DR did, and acknowledges that he himself struggled all season to adapt to this vastly different car, and he came up short, he freely admits that. But let’s recall that it is extremely unlikely that having come off 4 years of winning, he suddenly forgot how to do that, and suddenly DR just became a race winner in the same way. Obviously, and as we all know, the car is anywhere from 80% to 95% of the equation, depending on which expert you ask. And to Seb this car was a stranger. To DR it was his new best friend.

            DR won 3 races, Seb none, and all other races were won by the two Mercedes drivers. Without denying that DR bested SV in 2014, one can look at his 3 wins and see that they very much depended on the two Mercedes fowling each other, as well as on safety car timing. Hey, he was there for the wins when they counted, Seb and the other drivers wasn’t, and nobody is taking those away from DR. That’s how it works in F1. We saw that this year and in every season…that attrition of others can help a driver get a win.

            But a good measure when it’s apples to apples is in qualifying, and in that regard DR bested SV on average by .077 seconds. Less than a tenth. Yup SV didn’t convert those close numbers to better numbers come the ends of the races, but to ignore how problematic the car was, and how vastly different it was compared to 2013 is folly. But whereas non-fans of Seb can take and run with that and slam him for somehow forgetting to win, obviously Ferrari could see through what was really going on, and happily took him on. Those inside F1 knew what armchair observers didn’t. There’s more to the story than just the straight numbers. DR went on to be bested by Kvyat in 2015. There are reasons for that too. I’m sure DR didn’t just forget how to win.

        3. @f1osaurus Multiple people? No it’s really just you, but multiple people can be wrong too.

      3. If you build me my personal car, I will win as well. But thats not the point of having a racing driver now is it? Vettel should just drive around ‘the problem’ (which only he seems to have). We’ve heard these excuses way too often. If thats your level as a driver than maybe you do not belong in F1. Especially when you turn out to be a swearing, bumping into others kind of driver when things dont go your way. Should have been banned long time ago.

    2. So what we know so far is that Webber is worse than Vettel. Ricciardo and Leclerc slammed the door in Vettels face, meaning that they are good for at least 4 WDCs provided they have/had a winning car. Interesting to see where Lance fits in this picture. Will he be able to beat Vettel as well. I think he might because think we overestimated Webber

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        16th December 2020, 12:46

        If we ignore the technical matters pointed by David, you may be right.

        1. “Technical” matters like he can’t drive the car properly. While his team mate can?

          1. Jose Lopes da Silva
            16th December 2020, 17:36

            You can continue to ignore the subjects brought by David. It’s up to you.
            The funny thing is that you don’t disagree with him, although apparently you think you do.

          2. There were no matters mentioned other than that the car didn’t suit his driving style. That’s not a technical matter. That’s just poor racecraft from Vettel. That;s exactly where Hamilton, Ricciardo, Alonso, Senna and Verstappen etc etc make the difference

          3. Jose Lopes da Silva
            17th December 2020, 18:22

            @f1osaurus “That’s not a technical matter.” I’m sorry for my poor English. Again, it seems you agree with David after all.
            Internet communication is difficult. You understood David said the Red Bull 2014 was horrible, but he didn’t. Vettel’s 2014 performance was horrible, that’s what he said.
            Racecraft requirements change as cars change too, and the best racecraft measure is adaptability. Raikkonen did not adapt to the tyre monopoly after 2007. Schumacher did not adapt to the Pirellis after 2010. Webber did not adapt to the characteristics of the winning Red Bull, especially in that terrible Webber 2011. Vettel did not adapt to the hybrid era. Otherwise, their racecraft was good.
            Maldonado’s racecraft was never good.

          4. He said “and the car was not very competitive in Ricciardo’s hands either”. Clearly bunk

        2. Excuses. Who needs a driver that has such a narrow sweat spot?

          1. Jose Lopes da Silva
            17th December 2020, 10:02

            I didn’t say the opposite.
            The question is you implying that Webber is a terrible driver, ignoring the technical circumstances.
            Vettel never seemed at ease in the hybrid era, the same way Raikkonen never looked as efficient since the tyre monopoly began in 2007. (Raikkonen was brilliant between 2002 and 2006, and less so afterwards, even being champion).
            The best drivers should adapt to the technical circumstances of their time. Alonso excels at that. Vettel is failing since 2014. Webber failed to extract the same performances of the winning Red Bulls, while Vettel was on the spot. (Michael Schumacher failed to adapt to the Pirellis).
            Maybe Webber could have looked better in the hybrid era just as he did during the 2000’s. We did not over estimate him. He just failed to adapt when he had a winning car.

      2. VETTEL > HAMILTON
        16th December 2020, 20:33

        so what we know so far is that lewis is better than bottas and if lec and Riccardo were his teammates they would have slammed the door too in his face…..LOL
        dude……vettel is in the top 5 of all time. I know that hurts haters like you but your party is over.
        next season u will see the real vettel again and you and your kind will not know WHERE TO HIDE.

      3. Stroll is gonna get slammed unless this season was a true sign that Vettel have declined and not just sent packing by Ferrari with less updates on technical upgrades and how to utilize them.

        David strikes a clear issue with the “narrow” comment. All the Ferrari motorized and designed cars to fit the engine have had very narrow windows for working optimal, it was the case last year and this year as well.

      4. Webber was good, until he was hit by a car , had multiple surgeries and spent over a month in hospital. I think his accident affected him just as much as Massa.

    3. Yeah duhh lol Stroll is a slow driver which is exactly what vettel needs to look good next to

      1. Schumacher, Hamilton etc – all the greats need to be paired up with also-rans to look…great.

        1. Barrichello was a great driver, so was Rosberg and Bottas isn’t a slouch despite his form this 2nd half of the season and all the issues he have had. Bottas beat Massa all four years against him and by a good margine in 2014 and 2016 and never lost to a teammate until going up against Hamilton.

        2. @joshgeake Hamilton beat Alonso in his first season. Or are you calling Alonso an also-ran?

  3. Leclerc was quick but too aggressive on the opening lap, he really needs to calm down. I think he’ll be in for a serious battle against Carlos next year, particularly in the races. Should be a very strong lineup and hopefully they’ll be back nearer the front.

    As for Vettel – the worst driver in F1 this year, apart from Latifi. Really just shockingly bad. Slow and clumsy. What were RP thinking? He’s a downgrade on Perez and I can see Stroll matching or beating him.

    1. Could this be why! So that Lance can say he’s beaten a team mate who is a 4x WDC :)

    2. someone or something
      16th December 2020, 12:42

      @tflb

      What were RP thinking?

      –>

      I can see Stroll matching or beating him.

      Well, there’s your answer.

      It may seem like an odd way to run a business, but making Stroll jr. look good appears to be a key aspect for the team’s leadership. Compared to Vettel, Pérez is a no-name driver, who spent most of his career driving for a midfield team with constantly changing composite names. The fact that he’s effortlessly outperformed Stroll for two seasons reflect poorly on the the latter.
      By contrast, Vettel is a formerly record-breaking driver, a quadruple world champion, a name associated with teams such as Red Bull, Ferrari, and now Aston Martin. It doesn’t matter that Vettel has underperformed more often than not since the introduction of the hybrid formula: Beating him is both more likely and easier to spin as an outstanding achievement than it is with Pérez. Similarly, being beaten by Vettel is both less likely and also easier to spin as a respectable result alongside one of the sport’s greatest than it is with Pérez.

      But yeah, if you look at this season and imagine Vettel performing on a similar level to Stroll, and Sainz being closer to Leclerc, Racing Point might’ve finished the season behind Ferrari. Not the first time the name Stroll comes with a price tag.

      1. I highly doubt RP makes decisions simply to make Lance look good. I highly doubt Lance would be happy and settle for his team manipulating things just to make him look good.

        I think what everyone seems to be ignoring can be taken from things Leclerc has said and done regarding SV. Namely, both last year and this, CL has spoken about how much he appreciates and respects SV for all he has taught him while they’ve been teammates. This to the point where CL’s helmet in this past weekend’s race was a tribute to SV and a thank you. SV has had way more value to the team that just appears on the track by his performances. The team and CL have SV to thank in no small degree for how CL has done.

        So for RP to make the harsh decision to turf SP and take on SV is to me more than just about SV’s performances, obviously, for they have suffered, particularly this year. And I’d bet my house that they didn’t hire this 4-time WDC in hopes he doesn’t feel a resurgence, or like a fresh start, and invigorated, and more comfortable in the car than the last terrible Ferrari, but rather still underperforms and therefore ‘makes LS look good.’ That just doesn’t make sense.

        No, this hiring of SV is going to take RP to another level in terms of Championship experience and mentality on the team overall, and his performance on the track is only one aspect, and that remains to be seen once SV is involved with his new team, with all that is yet to be discovered about that experience, vs the pressure cooker we have heard it is like at Ferrari. Let’s face it Ferrari had some degree of fault in SV’s performances too, and in how his season challenges particularly in 2017 and 2018 faltered in the last halves of those two seasons.

        I feel bad for SP, but this is a coup for RP. And it’s going to be a blast to watch.

        1. Yeah, I agree with you there @robbie.

          Signing Vettel is about both creating value for Aston Martin (experienced driver, 4 time champion, race winner – all of that make for superb PR to sell cars, especially in Germany as well. And it will help develop the team into a winner) AND developing Lance further by learning from a champion how to get better.

        2. I also have had another though about whether (if not for the Stroll connection) they would have been better off keeping Perez next to Vettel. And on the one hand I think it certainly would have been a higher quality pairing. But I am unsure it would have worked well.

          When the experienced Vettel gets, next to Lance, everyone expects him to be the leader, teacher, the one driving the development from the driver side. He will expect to be respected and embraced as this new leader stepping in. And will want to teach everyone how to improve, do what RB did well and avoid what they, but certainly what Ferrari keeps doing wrong.

          Had Perez been kept on board, that situation would have been more complicated. An experienced driver like Perez, who saved the team, who has achieved a lot of success (especially if he had won a race!) would expect to be treated more as an equal. And it would clearly feel different. I fear it would end up with either Vettel or Perez feeling neglected – something surely Lance will never feel in the team owned by his father – and so the harmony one needs to get onto that next step would be missing.

        3. But they did make decisions to make Lance look better? That upgrade they received gaining 0.3 per lap was first given to Lance on the basis that he was the front runner in the championship despite not finishing above Perez once at that point.
          They didn’t give the update to their best driver first, which is the normal procedure.

          Getting beaten by Vettel will also look better than getting beating by Perez. Though I don’t think its why Vettel is there, but have more to do with marketing.

  4. Vettel is noob, Leclerc is noob, Binotto is noob, team strategists are noobs, Ferrari is noob.

    1. How old are you?

      1. None of your business.

      2. Yes your alias is so mature. Makes sense you ask others for their age.

        1. you think so?

          1. BottAss’s alias is incredibly mature yes

    2. Your comment is noob as well.

      1. Everyone is noob.

  5. In my opinion, Leclerc had to play the Alonso role of leading a failing team and overcompensating for a bad car. It’s a big ask for someone in his third season in F1. I wish there was someone with a calm leadership ability in the garage to tell Leclerc to not take risks in the race, not let the lack of power affect his mindset and instead just bank the points as they came. Too often it felt like he was trying to maximise opportunities that weren’t always there. When it worked, like his passes on Norris and Perez in Austria, his superb SC restart at Monza, his 56-and-a-half laps of send in Istanbul, not to mention the quali laps in Silverstone, Portimao and Sakhir, he was a joy to watch. But the lack of a Wolff or a Seidl like figure has affected them big time.

    1. @wsrgo his ‘superb SC restart at Monza’ – what, the one where he binned it heavily at Parabolica on the first lap after the restart? Not really superb…

      1. someone or something
        16th December 2020, 13:00

        @tflb
        Hang on … You’re mixing two things that have nothing to do with each other.
        His SC restart was indeed superb. Overtaking not just one, but two cars before the first corner is highly unusal for this kind of situation, especially when you consider that the Parabolica is rather poorly suited for setting up an overtake without DRS.
        His crash on the very next lap dragged down his Italian GP performance as a whole, but it had absolutely nothing to do with the SC restart.

        @wsrgo ‘s whole point was that Leclerc has had a few moments of brilliance this year. The fact that he also made a few mistakes, sometimes in the very same race, doesn’t change that.

        1. It was on the same lap wasn’t it… to me the two things are inseperable. You can’t say he had a great SC restart without noting he binned it a few seconds later. To me that’s a large part of Leclerc’s story this season – superb performances with some extremely costly errors mixed in with it. Trying too hard?

          1. @tflb That’s weird…so overtaking the two Alfas on the pit straight at the start of the lap never happened because he crashed at the end of the lap? The restart process is basically from when the leader accelerates all the way to the first big braking zone. Anything after that is stock green flag racing.

            I do believe he was trying too hard. That’s my point…he’s having to do an Alonso despite his inexperience, and that’s costing him. And that there’s no figure in the team to rein in his aggressive instincts.

          2. @wsrgo I didn’t say it didn’t happen did I? But he threw it all away very shortly after. That’s my point – it’s not a superb SC restart if he doesn’t even make it round the lap because he’s trying too hard. In my view anyway the sc restart lasts the whole lap, that’s how long it normally takes for everything to sort itself out.

      2. Lol if your saying Leclerc had a bad season then Vettel must have a abysmal season then in comparison

    2. Jose Lopes da Silva
      16th December 2020, 12:49

      “Leclerc had to play the Alonso role of leading a failing team and overcompensating for a bad car.”
      I think you’re absolutely right. When you have an inferior car, you try to compensate and you have to take more risks. That’s why wins with the best car never seem so heroic, because the leading driver has some margin not to go strictly in the limit.

      It’s a pity that this argument is never applied to Verstappen.

      1. That argument has been used many times re Verstappen. It was even used this week in reference to his calm last Sunday when he was able to control the race.

      2. It’s such nonsense. You don’t see everybody from P2 down crashing their cars over and over.

        The car is as fast as it is. They extract the maximum performance out of it the same way. Regardless of it whether it finished first or 20th.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          16th December 2020, 18:58

          You’re talking about CC-cars in a video game. Real life does not work that way.

          1. But why, then, do we not see more drivers apparently overdriving their cars further down the grid?

            Why does that argument not also apply to every other driver in a worse car? Why are they also not trying to compensate for their cars being poor?

          2. Jose Lopes da Silva
            17th December 2020, 9:54

            @anon
            Because people and most journalists do not look further down the grid. 80% of the fans look at bashing or cheering the 3 or 4 drivers in the front. Few people care. If you decide the argument doesn’t apply to every other driver in a worse car, it doesn’t apply.
            When Giovinazzi crashes in Spa, you don’t say he is overdriving because he feels pressured by Raikkonen being quicker in the same car. You just say he’s a weak driver.
            When Verstappen crashed in Monaco behind Massa, he was touted as a lunatic teenager. When Alonso crashed in Australia behind Gutierrez exactly in the same way, no one said he was a lunatic.
            Every driver has to overdrive or manage regarding his personal circumstance and his team circumstance. Ralf Schumacher did not drive at his full in Spa 98, has he received team orders. If you have a driver from the midfield in a strong points position, he won’t risk everything as he is already in a good position and shouldn’t loose it. If he’s at the back, he should take more risks. If he’s behind his team mate, he should take more risks.
            There has been lots of talks regarding Russell in Williams precisely because it was hard to compare him with someone. His team mates were/are low profile. How could we know if he was going on the limit or, after setting up a comfortable position ahead of his team mate, he wouldn’t just cruise to the end? Points being impossible?

            Countless times did Prost and Schumacher controlled races from the front, not needing to go faster and preserving their machines. Several times did Schumacher back off at the front, between 2001 and 2004, to finish a couple of seconds ahead of 2nd place. “Winning at the slowest speed possible” was always a mantra. Everybody agrees that the most spectacular wins of Schumacher came in the nineties, when he seldom had the fastest car. When he had to take risks. How can you say “They extract the maximum performance out of it the same way”?

    3. Seidl this seidl that. Seidl himself had to say he is not responsible for new mclaren’s breakthrough last season, and this season there have been some low moments. It is never 1 person responsible.

  6. A repeat of history – Vettel joins a team fresh and against a weaker teammate and performs well – then a new younger teammate joins and Vettel performance drops to the point he leaves the team.

    First at Red Bull starting with Mark Webber as teammate and later Daniel Ricciardo.
    Then at Ferrari starting with Kimi Raikonnen as teammate and now Charles Leclerc.
    Next year at Aston Martin starting with Lance Stroll

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer Except that now his team mate has basically zero chance of ever being replaced or leaving the team, unless Stroll senior decides to sell the team. So provided that Vettel can perform at a reasonable level and has Stroll Jnr covered, he should be safe from any future team mate threats for as long as he wants the job.

    2. @jelle-van-der-meer Vettel tends to need that #1 position to perform decent. Would they give him that against the boss’ son?

      1. Racing Point clearly favored Stroll certainly early in the year with him getting the updates first.
        In the end Perez still beat Stroll in the championship and Perez missed 1 more race than Stroll due to Covid and had 2 mechanical failures in last 3 races.

        Vettel should be able to beat Stroll easily even if Stroll gets preferential treatment at Aston Martin. If Vettel can’t beat Stroll he has no more place in F1 and certainly doesn’t deserve #1 position status.

  7. That is a thoroughly depressing bar chart for a four time world champion. I wish Vettel all the best, but I can’t help but think Racing Point have made a mistake. Sure, Vettel at his best is better than Perez at his best, but I’ve seen very little from Vettel the past few years that suggests he’s anywhere near his best, whereas Perez looks to be near the top of his game. Add in Vettel’s lack of elegance in the midfield and Stroll Sr. might be ruing his decision when summer comes around.

    1. Nah racing point is mostly only getting vettel for the marketing

    2. Doubt that. Perez should have scored many more points and win more races. Perez was a brilliant midfield driver but after many years he almost failed to grasp the opportunity to win a race. I think wounded Seb still knows how to win, he will do well on a great car.

      1. Perez is far from perfect, but Vettel has been ‘wounded’ since at least Germany 2018. Since then, he outscored a 10-years-past-his-best Raikkonen by a single point for the remainder of that season (despite RAI having one more retirement), got narrowly beaten by a guy in his second season in F1 and demolished by the same guy a year later. I’ll be happy to be proved wrong, but I see no reason to think he’s suddenly going to turn into a top driver again.

  8. Dont know what’s wrong with Vettel. Not Sure he can come again like fittipaldi etc

  9. Lol Vettel desperately needs a slow teammate next year so his delusional fans can go back to thinking he is a top 3 driver

  10. I remember enough of the Red Bull years to be sure Vettel was extremely talented. He was fast and consistent.

    I’d really like to understand what has changed. I suspect it is a combination of mental state and age. mental state looks to be very important to these drivers performing consistently at their best, especially their ability to make split second judgments.

    And of course every year even young men lose a little bit of reaction time. It accelerates as you reach the mid-thirties.

    When vettel would spin the Ferrari I always wondered whether it was a combination of a ill-suiting car and his reflexes just not being what they were it Red Bull.

    Hopefully his mental state will improve next year, and hopefully the car will suit him better. Would be a pity if we remember him for the recent fiasco and not for 4 championships in a row

  11. Annihilation. I reckon it is largely down to driving style and how these PU cars work.

    1. But is it really, after watching the whole season?

      1. And bad mental state.

  12. Actually, that chart’s pretty complimentary for Vettel especially after watching the entire season. If you asked me now, I’d have said Vettel outqualified Leclerc 0 times (maybe once), scored 20 points, and beat Leclerc once. Looking at this, however, Vettel outqualified Leclerc 4 times, finished ahead 3 times, and scored 33 points. A split would have required 7 of each and 65 points. Sure, the numbers are still bad but they are not 100% domination which you’d expect as Leclerc was nearly 0.5 seconds to 1 second quicker or something to that effect.

    Vettel has no excuse – it seemed like he was trying to play tennis with a ping pong paddle. I’m curious to see Vettel in the Racing Point next year – there are many question marks surrounding his current level of performance and motivation and I think we’ll have to wait to find out the answer to those questions.

    If anything, given the fact that Vettel was so slow, accountability falls on Leclerc’s shoulders as he seemed to have the speed to deliver more points than he did. I would not be surprised if that car had anywhere between 120 to 180 points in it as it was clearly capable of podiums.

    The larger question here is what’s Leclerc’s excuse? From what I’ve seen in F1, you don’t fight for championships by scoring 60-80% of the points that the car has on offer. That’s the exact issue that Vettel faced in 2017 and 2018 where he scored 80% of the points on offer and it wasn’t enough. We’ve seen Leclerc criticize his own performance plenty a time as he knew his car deserved to do better in the race.

    We’ve all be saying on this site that Leclerc, Max, Ricciardo, Gasly, Russell, Ocon, Sainz, Norris are all WDC material and I’m sure Ferrari feels the same way.

    Charles’ results look good. Are they Ferrari good? Definitely! Are they good for Charles’? I don’t think he feels that way! Are they good enough to win championships? That’s the million dollar question.

    1. @freelittlebirds True, Leclerc makes way too many mistakes. Crashing out completely in 3 races and getting away with it once when driving into Stroll. He’s also too inconsistent on setup/pace. Getting P2 for one race and then finishing out of the points the next.

      He’s still young though. Verstappen is also still making too many mistakes (Styria breaking his front wing, Hungary setup issues and crashing on warm up lap, Monza setup issues, Turkey spinning out, Sakhir).

      At some point they would be expected to learn that getting to the finish is more important then gambling it all on that one last ditch attempt do-or-die overtake. Plus learn how to consistently get most out of the car and maybe even more importantly, how to help the team improve the car from season to season.

      1. @f1osaurus you’re right, he does have age on his side! But it’s F1 so he’s not guaranteed that seat until the age of 40.
        He’s 2 seasons into it now and here comes a big test – I don’t believe that Sainz is necessarily quicker than Leclerc but we’ve seen some strange gaps in Ferraris. For some reason, one of the drivers always seems to struggle in a Ferrari.

        Has Ferrari ever had a solid 2 driver team where both drivers seemed to do as well as Rosberg and Hamilton or Bottas and Hamilton or even Alonso and Hamilton at McLaren?

        Wow, Hamilton’s name really comes up a lot when we speak of solid duos. :-)

      2. @f1osaurus

        He’s still young though. Verstappen is also still making too many mistakes (Styria breaking his front wing, Hungary setup issues and crashing on warm up lap, Monza setup issues, Turkey spinning out, Sakhir).

        Setup issues is just a code word for Red Bull being slower than expected, which affected both drivers. Verstappen was never out qualified by his teammate all season and is the only driver in 2020 to do so.

        He was forced off the track by Leclerc hitting Bottas in Sakhir, and his mistake pre-race in Hungary had zero impact on the race itself.

        Only in Turkey was he poor

        Hamilton made more mistakes than Verstappen did in 2020 despite driving a dominant car (Austria qualifying penalty, Austria race penalty, ignoring two red lights to enter the pitlane in Monza).

        1. @kingshark The fact that Albon is not getting the support nor the car he needs is irrelevant. Verstappen and Albon both crying the whole weeked that they can’t get their car working is relevant Especially when they upfront said that they would be going for a win. Both tracks they were in the hunt for pole in 2019 and now they were suddenly a second off the pace

          You cannot deny facts. Verstappen made a lot more mistakes as I descrubed.

          1. @f1osaurus

            Both tracks they were in the hunt for pole in 2019 and now they were suddenly a second off the pace

            This is such a meaningless argument. The RB16 is a completely different car from the RB15 with completely different characteristics. Only someone who knows nothing about F1 would make this argument.

            Mercedes previously dominated Abu Dhabi and Silverstone in 2019, and yet in 2020, they lost Abu Dhabi and the second race in Silverstone, so Hamilton obviously made a mistake with the setup (using your logic).

            Hamilton was also outqualified on 5 occasions by Bottas which means that on at least 5 occasions, he failed to maximize the ability of the car. Verstappen did a clean sweep.

            Hamilton lost Monza because of his inability to spot two flashing red lights before driving into the pits. He finished 4th in the fastest car in Austria after a penalty which was his own doing.

            Max was the driver of the season.

          2. @kingshark

            Only someone who knows nothing about F1 would make this argument.

            You mean Horner and Marko? They both said they would be going for the win in Hungary.

            Please just stop. It’s embarrassing.

          3. @f1osaurus
            Helmut and Marko also hyped up Red Bull’s chances at the title in the beginning of 2020.

            They always hype themselves up. Nothing to see here.

            Anyone with a brain could see that Red Bull just wasn’t very competitive around Hungary or Monza.

            Also, nice job ignoring the rest of my post which explains exactly why your argument is rubbish.

          4. @kingshark Hungary perfectly suits that car. Monza also. They did fine at similar tracks for both.

            Just stop it with this nonsense!

          5. @kingshark Welcome to Trumposaurus land. Facts don’t matter, only shoot-from-the-hip rhetoric does. You nailed it with “Only someone who knows nothing about F1 would make this argument.”

          6. @f1osaurus
            Could your simplistic view of Formula 1 please explain why Mercedes’ pace in the second race at Silverstone was so much worse than the first race? After all, same track and all.

            It amazes me how much confidence you have for someone who understands so little about the sport.

          7. @kingshark Different tyre compounds

          8. @f1osaurus
            And the 2019 Hungarian GP was driven on entire different spec tyres altogether from the 2020 Hungarian GP, so you’ve just blown a hole in your own theory.

            The amount of logic twisting you do to support your false narratives and agendas is incredible.

          9. @kingshark Sigh. The same tyres were used for 2019 and 2020.

            Just stop wasting people’s time with your dumb excuses for why Verstappen failed

          10. They brought 2020 tyres which were worse,

            https://www.racefans.net/2020/02/29/hamilton-pirelli-must-produce-better-tyres-for-2021/

            @f1osaurus looks like your own hero disagrees with your claim that the 2019 and 2020 tyres were the same

          11. @kingshark I’m amazed how you are able to embarrass yourself even more

            Did you even read the article??!?!?!?!

            “after teams rejected plans to use the new tyres they designed for 2020.”

            “Formula 1 will use the 2019-specification Pirelli tyres again this year”

            Come on man!!!!!!!

          12. @f1osaurus
            I confused 2020 with 2021.

            Nonetheless, the fact that you think that tyres are a perfectly good excuse to explain Mercedes’ mediocre pace around 70th GP anniversary while simultaneously refuse to acknowledge that the RB16 and RB15 were different cars shows that you are far more interested in pushing your agenda than any truth.

            It’s fundamentally dishonest to blame Verstappen for Red Bull’s lack of pace in Hungary and Monza this year. You are perfectly aware of this, but your anti-Max agenda is so strong that it simply doesn’t allow you to think straight.

            If I was as dishonest as you are, I would use Mercedes dominance around Silverstone as an argument to why Red Bull was actually not the fastest car at the 70th anniversary. But I am not agenda-driven like you, so I am not going to make that argument.

    2. I agree that the stats look indeed better than Vettel performed that season. Two of his qualifying victory were in the wet and with the exception of Hungary I can’t remember a single race where he was faster than Leclerc. We all know that Leclerc is extremely fast though and I guess, as soon as he’s a car underneath him he doesn’t feel the need to overdrive, he’ll become more consistent as well.
      Hence, it’s so difficult to judge to rate Vettel proberly. The car didn’t suit him, but the gap was just to big for that as the only excuse. Was he lackluster? Is Leclerc that good or is Vettel really that poor?
      Neither do I hope nor do I think it’s the latter, so lets give him some credits for his achievements and hope I can up the ante at Aston Martin next year.
      Otherwise that would be quite bad for his ex-teammates he beat and to an extend even for his championship rivals in the past.

  13. Leclerc makes more mistakes than you expect at the sharp end of F1. He is hard on himself, but that does not mean he will make less errors.
    Sainz I fear is not the man Ferrari need alongside him. They are both excellent racers but flawed, and neither can be leader of Ferrari. I hope to be proven wrong, but…..

    1. Come on leclerc made mistakes in 2019 because it was first year in ferrari team was supporting seb and he wanted to prove himself this year the car is bad I am very sure that now with him being lead driver if he gets decent car like 2019 he will not take risks and make fewer mistakes you see

    2. Leclerc makes more mistakes than you expect at the sharp end of F1. He is hard on himself, but that does not mean he will make less errors.

      I agree. Honestly, I don’t think Leclerc has actually improved much from last season. He’s made more errors this season than the last, and when you’re battling in a car that’s in the lower midfield the focus should be on maximising finishes rather than risking too much. Having said that, I think his peak performances this year were outstanding. His podium finish in Austria and Britain, along with some solid drives to finish P4 and P5 were some of the strongest performances we’ve seen so far. He would have cemented himself as the top 3 drivers this season if he didn’t make that clumsy error in Styria, an uncharacteristic crash at Monza and the failed dive bomb in Turkey.

      With regards to Vettel. He was crushed by Leclerc this season way worse than what Ricciardo did with him in 2014. People will always find excuses for his performances like he likes a stable rear end, he was not given same equipment.. blah blah. Truth of the matter is that top drivers can always wring the most out of the car even when the car is far from perfect. Leclerc did that this season and so did Alonso during his Ferrari years. To me, Vettel is a driver that can be blindingly fast only when the car is perfect, and he can beat a teammate who is older and lost his edge. This season just further cements the fact that Vettel isn’t half the driver his stats may suggest… and that his move to Aston Martin is great because he’ll be racing against a mediocre talent for a team that isn’t fighting at the sharp end.

    3. Verstappen also made mistakes his first few seasons and he have more seasons than LeClerc in F1. Experience matters – though we can’t paint the future and see if LeClerc progress in the same way as Verstappen or Hamilton for that matter.

  14. I suspect RP got Vettel for his expert, his name and the fact that he was available. He’s a known quantity – give him a happy car and he knows how to get a pole and win.

    He’s also not an angry canon that’ll blame the team and pour petrol over everyone’s good work. He’s actually quite a gentleman when he’s not ramming Lewis…

    Anyway, I can’t say I’ve seen anything from Lance to suggest he’s going to beat Vettel, if anything quite the opposite.

    Lastly, there’s quite a good chance that Vettel will beat both Ferraris next year. That’ll bring a smile to his face.

  15. Mark in Florida
    17th December 2020, 13:53

    Vettle is an old hand in the sport. That’s what is showing now verses Leclerc. Vettle is a driver that manages races from the the front and Red Bull most always gave him a car that qualified at the front. Ferrari has not been able to make a car that’s even close to Merc. I don’t think that next year will bode well for them either. I think they’re putting the real effort into the 2022 car. So Vettle going to RP will be an upgrade for him. He might even drive quite well feeling that he has a competitive car under him. After all he will be in a Merc albeit an older model that’s still better than a new Ferrari. Plus RP will benefit from Vettels experience and racecraft. I don’t think that Lance will beat Vettle very often so it won’t be a showcase moment for him.

  16. A lot of people criticised Ferrari’s handling of Vettel (probably the same people who were booing him 7 years ago, pinning the blame on him for Singapore 2017, laughing at him Germay, Italy, Japan 2018), but Ferrari were completely vindicated in telling him he’s no longer needed before the season even started.

    And if you look at the way Vettel has behaved — stroppy, constantly insinuating his car is sabotaged, clearly not trying regularly getting beaten by Alfa Romeos — why would you want that kind of personality on your team? That’s a toxic presence.

    Brazil last year would have been the final straw for Ferrari especially after how he was openly insubordinate at Sochi. It was 100% Vettel’s fault, he should have came out and accepted total blame but didn’t. Kept insisting that he was driving straight. The guy just lies and makes stuff up. Team was diplomatic in saying both drivers shared blame, but behind the scenes they were sharpening their knives for him.

    Credit to Ferrari. They were going to let it turn into another Turkey 2010 and let one driver think they are above the team. Nipped it in the bud very quickly.

    Reality for Vettel is that Leclerc was on his pace from the start of 2019. His days were numbered after Leclerc’s incredible performance in Bahrain.

    Handing out a few Heinekens and singing a song doesn’t change what a destructive presence he’s been around Ferrari.

    Well done to Leclerc for not taking the bait. Kept his head down, said the right things, and let Vettel basically implode.

  17. This one really hurts for people like me who once though that Vettel would be the next Schumacher. And even though Schumacher II wasn’t good, he was older, had been out of the sport (let’s see what Alonso can do), and had a serious bike accident before. Vettel performed even worse compared to his teammate without these factors.
    I’m glad that Vettel will have another chance next year to see if any of the old Vettel is still in there.

    Leclerc had some steller races in 2020 which made him look like a real future WDC contender. But at the same time there were still many lesser actions. But also Lewis and Max had such days in their first couple of years.
    Leclerc needs to show next year that he can pull the team and perform like a potential WDC.

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