'Sebastian Vettel had the wrong approach in 2018' - Flavio Briatore

Doug Mendoza
October 12, 2018

Vettel is now 67 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' championship, and needs a set of freak circumstances if he is going to overhaul his Mercedes rival.

The battle that should have gone down to the wire and raged until the last race in Abu Dhabi, now looks on course to be decided as early as in two weeks' time, following Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

Vettel and Ferrari were fighting a close battle with Mercedes for much of the championship but their season has unravelled partly because of a series of errors, even before Mercedes found an extra gear at the Singapore Grand Prix in mid-September.

But Mercedes' Hamilton wrote on Instagram: "I feel the media need to show a little more respect for Sebastian". "You simply can not imagine how hard it is to do what we do at our level, for any athlete at the top of their game, that is".

"I had similar encounters with others and we managed to make it through the corner".

What did the media say about Vettel?

"Sebastian is making a lot of mistakes this year, he is his biggest enemy", said the flamboyant fomer F1 boss, speaking to Nico Rosberg in the 2016 world champion's latest "Beyond Victory" podcast.

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The Austin Circuit of Americas is one of Hamilton's favourite tracks, having tasted success on five of the last six Grand Prix held there. Vettel's ensuing mistake also supports one paddock theory that his error-prone campaign has been sparked by trying to manage his hapless Italian team from inside the Ferrari cockpit.

However, all of the aforementioned scenarios are looking unlikely to say the least as Hamilton will be keen to record his seventh win from the last eight races and match Juan Manuel Fangio's tally of 5 Drivers' Championships next weekend.

"I honestly thought that was how it was going to be, given they were so strong in the previous two races".

Briatore pointed to Vettel's heat-of-the-moment attitude at Monza - when he clashed with Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap of the race - as a case study of his weakness.

"It is very hard to pass around here and follow up the hill, and with the fast corners that we have, but I thought that I could play with the auto and make the tyres last reasonably well", said Vettel.

"We go to the next race and hopefully we'll put the things where we are happier with them and we'll be up there". I think there's still some important things that we can understand and learn about the auto. "There are 100 points available and I know we have to keep doing the job until the last chequered flag".

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