If there happens to be a driver on the current grid who knows Sebastian Vettel closely and has had the pleasure of racing alongside him, other than Kimi Raikkonen, then it’s Daniel Ricciardo. Together with the famous Australian driver, currently with Renault, Sebastian Vettel teamed along at Red Bull around half a decade back for the 2014 Formula 1 season.
Sebastian Vettel’s endured a torrid run previously too
And it’s Sebastian Vettel’s former teammate who has come out in support of the noted German multiple world champion, perhaps at a time where life’s not exactly music and lyrics for the Heppenheim-born driver.
Not the first time in his career where he finds himself struggling, back in 2014, a season where despite racing with a team with whom he lifted not one or two but four separate world titles, Sebastian Vettel endured a tough time. It would be the only season in his career where he would fail to win a single Grand Prix.
In fact, let alone win a single race, in 2014, Vettel didn’t bag a single pole position although he did manage to set two fastest-laps, one each at the Grands Prix of the United States and China.
One man who watched Vettel struggle closely
And all this while, one man who finally managed to finish third on the year’s Driver Standings witnessed the German driver’s struggles. It was Daniel Ricciardo, who raced in the same racing overalls as Sebastian for 19 consecutive Grands Prix.
Now, right when Vettel finds himself staring at a somewhat haunting abyss, perhaps enduring his most difficult season since 2014 (with Red Bull), it’s heartening to see that the Australian racer has stepped in for the man responsible for collecting 52 race wins.
Ricciardo, who only recently drove home the best finish so far in his maiden season with Renault, in the form of the P4 at Monza happened to share:
“I am probably a decent one to answer for it because it’s in times, in a similar position to maybe where he was in 2014 and he bounced back,” Ricciardo said of Vettel.
“I think [the] second race in 2015 he won in Malaysia, if memory serves.
“He has the ability to bounce back, and all it will take is one race.”
What lies ahead for Seb?
Sebastian Vettel has now arrived at a track that could be called one of his favourite hunting grounds. For if there’s one man whose win tally at the electrifying night-race at Singapore is tied with the great Lewis Hamilton, then it’s none other than the German driver.
Both arch rivals and multiple world champions have the exact same tally of wins at the physically demanding 61-lap contest, with Vettel and Hamilton tied at 4 race victories.
But it must be said that in a season where Vettel came close to winning a Grand Prix only once- for such has been his struggle- back at the Canadian Grand Prix where he began from the pole (his only pole lap this year), Ricciardo’s words also paint the portrait of a very capable driver who even though might be under some duress, drives like a champion.
He would conclude and suggest that perhaps Vettel’s issues were more in the mind than having to do anything significantly erroneous with his racecraft.
“In the past, he’s always been strong here in Singapore, so this could be the weekend for him that he does turn it around.
“It’s just one [example] where he’s one race from turning it around … there’s a lot of things to deal with in this sport, especially when you’re at the top.
“It’s not just talent anymore, it’s pressure, it’s headspace, where you’re at in your personal life and all this.