Sergio Perez believes Sebastian Vettel’s recent errors have been a result of the German getting “desperate” as his title hopes were slipping away.
Vettel spun when fighting with Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap in Monza, and then suffered the same result in similar incidents with Max Verstappen in Japan and Daniel Ricciardo last weekend in Austin. Perez defended Vettel’s pedigree and believes the recent incidents have been a result of having to overdrive in a less competitive car compared to the Mercedes.
“I think Sebastian is a fantastic driver,” Perez said. “It’s very hard to judge the performance of someone when you’re not in the team and you don’t know exactly what’s going on. So it makes no sense for me to say.
“Obviously we have seen some mistakes. Probably at the end he was just desperate, trying to achieve what was probably not possible, but he’s a four-time World Champion for that reason so he has a great team and he will be back to fight again and he has a great opportunity to fight Lewis. Mercedes also have a fantastic car so it was very hard for him.”
Pierre Gasly agreed, suggesting Vettel was even outperforming the Ferrari earlier in the season when he opened up a championship lead.
“I think it’s part of racing,” Gasly said. “You’re always driving at the limit. I think he probably overperformed with the car he had at the beginning of the season. A couple of times he managed to win races which they probably didn’t have the potential to win and then of course, expectations were really high.
“He did a couple of mistakes in the second part of the season. I think he’s the only one who could answer why. When you’re fighting for the championship, you’re so much on the limit all the time, trying to achieve things, as Sergio said, was probably not achievable with the car he had a couple of times and then things happen.
“They all say he’s a four-time World Champion, I think he knows how to manage a championship. It’s not the first time he’s in this position but he’s the only one who could answer that question.”
Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen added mistakes are simply a byproduct of pushing to the limit, something all drivers have to deal with.
“Well the first thing is that sometimes it happens and he pushes and pushes and sometimes he gets it wrong and unfortunately it happened to him a few times,” Raikkonen said. “I think we’ve all gone through it, it’s part of the game.”