Lewis Hamilton says Sebastian Vettel will rebound from error
Lewis says his Ferrari rival will rebound from Verstappen shunt as "that's what great athletes do"; Vettel "not too worried" by his form
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 16/07/19 6:23pm
Lewis Hamilton has backed "great" Sebastian Vettel to put his latest high-profile mistake behind him and re-emerge a stronger force.
Vettel's season, which has yet to feature a race victory, took a fresh turn for the worse at Silverstone on Sunday when he crashed into the back of Max Verstappen and finished 16th.
Vettel admitted the mistake and apologised to Verstappen, but fresh scrutiny of his form has followed - with Italy's leading sports daily newspaper, Gazzetta dello Sport, suggesting the four-time world champion is in a "crisis".
Silverstone followed errors when racing against Hamilton in Bahrain and Canada earlier in the year, and a string of mistakes in 2018 - but Ferrari driver has again received public support from his longest-running rival.
"I absolutely believe he will rebound - look at the greats playing tennis, he is one of those [in F1]," said Hamilton, while sitting in front of a TV showing the Wimbledon men's singles final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer after winning the British GP.
"He's had a difficult race but he's a four-time world champion, he will recover and he will redeem himself if he feels he needs to, and come back stronger the next race.
"That's what great athletes do."
What does Vettel say?
Asked after Sunday's race to describe his season so far in one word, Vettel replied "difficult".
However, the 32-year-old denied it was proving to be a repeat of 2014, when he struggled against new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and ultimately quit Red Bull for Ferrari. Vettel has been joined by 21-year-old Charles Leclerc this season and has now not outqualified or outraced the youngster in the last three events.
But Vettel says he "not too worried" by his run of results, with his attention turning to his home German GP on July 28.
"Firstly, it's a long time ago and, secondly, it's very difficult," said when asked about 2014. "If you are talking about frustration, it's maybe here and there the end result that probably is missing but in terms of the races we had they could have gone the other way as well.
"So you need to be fair in your judgement on one particular lap. Obviously I didn't have a great lap with what happened but the laps before I think up to that point were quite strong. We started sixth and not by chance we found ourselves third at some point. The Safety Car, you could argue, helped but we managed quite well the first stint doing something different to other people and making it work."
Since claiming an impressive pole and nearly winning in Canada at the start of June, Vettel has particularly struggled in qualifying with the feeling with the Ferrari SF90. In the British GP Notebook, Sky F1's Ted Kravitz analysed the situation in the wake of recent car developments:
What is the paddock saying about Vettel?
Sky F1's Martin Brundle
"I like the man so much and admire his track record, intellect, and human values, but I long ago lost the right as a pundit to sit on the fence. As we have seen with many drivers in the later stages of their careers, he has lost judgement and reactions in wheel-to-wheel action."
Read Martin's full British GP column
Ross Brawn, F1 managing director and former Ferrari technical boss
"It's a difficult moment for Sebastian, as he probably feels under a different kind of pressure than he's used to, and he must be asking himself what direction he should now go in, given that again this year, his chance of putting Ferrari back on top is slipping away.
"Sebastian is an incredible driver, as his record shows, but at the moment, he needs to keep calm and to rely on support from his team, which I'm sure he is getting."
Christian Horner, Red Bull team boss who worked with Vettel from 2009-2014
"I can only imagine it was a complete misjudgement by Seb to lock up and hit him the way he did.
"He has unfortunately made a mistake and we have been penalised for it. I'm sure he's as frustrated as we were."
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