What has happened to Vettel?

Wow, what a race Silverstone was! It was by far the most entertaining and exciting grand prix of the season. It had some incredible battles in midfield, with Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc locking horns throughout the race; it had a pivotal safety car that saw Lewis Hamilton take the record sixth win; and perhaps the most shocking crash of the season.

I am of course talking about Sebastian Vettel’s moment of madness as he shunted his Ferrari into the back of Verstappen’s Red Bull, in what can only be described as a feeble overtake attempt.  Verstappen made an excellent move to overtake Vettel using his DRS, but in the process went wide in the following turn, meaning Vettel wasn’t far behind. Once Verstappen had pulled off the manoeuvre, he positioned his car in front of Vettel down the small straight leading to the next corner. Sebastian Vettel then proceeded to dart towards what seemed to be an imaginary gap down the inside of Max Verstappen, resulting in him rear-ending the Dutchman, and sending them both spinning – a move that was entirely Vettel’s fault.

And this is not the first high profile error that Vettel has made recently; just cast your memory back to his lapse of concentration at Montreal. So, what has happened to Vettel? Will he recover from his colossal drop in form? Or will he need to assess his options for the future?

You would have thought that between a four-time world champion and a 21-year-old in his first season at Ferrari, that the multiple time world champion would be clinging podiums and challenging the top drivers. Yet Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc has now out qualified him in the last three races and has earnt significantly more championship points in the process. It seems to me that Vettel has been unnerved and knocked off his undisputed top spot at Ferrari by what seems to be Ferrari’s future with Leclerc. I find it hard to imagine that Ferrari are going to be able to generate the extra front wing downforce that Vettel needs anytime soon, so he really needs to start getting the best out of the car like Charles Leclerc is.

Which brings up the question of whether or not Vettel can perform to the best of his ability when he isn’t the outstanding driver in a team. This is potentially the first time Vettel has had a teammate who might be the priority, and it’s having an effect on his performance. It may be that Vettel feels as if he is the number two driver at Ferrari right now and, if this is the case, then is staying at Ferrari in his best interest?

Depending on whether or not Vettel can start putting in some better performances at Ferrari, could he potentially be better off at a team where he would be undoubtedly their number one driver? I think it’s too early to start writing Vettel off just yet, but I also believe that he needs to be number one for him to perform at his best, and if Charles Leclerc is going to be the future for Ferrari, then perhaps Vettel should evaluate his options. His contract with Ferrari will not expire until the end of 2020, so he still has plenty of time to start performing and, if he intends to carry on in the sport like he says he does, then I think weighing up his options now could be a smart move.

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