Sebastian Vettel’s defeat to Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship leaves him with unfinished business, according to Ferrari senior performance engineer Jock Clear.
Hamilton wrapped up a fifth drivers’ championship at the Mexican Grand Prix, Vettel’s challenge having faded with disappointing results in Italy, Japan and the United States. Vettel finished outside the podium after spinning early on in all three of those races, and Clear believes the four-time world champion will use this year’s failure as further motivation for 2019.
“The fact is, drivers of his caliber relish the pressure,” Clear said. “The top athletes pit themselves against the best and the pressure is the pressure. That’s part of the job.
“I think he has enjoyed the season. There have been highs and lows. I think he said recently that losing the championship in 2009 he found more frustrating. I think on the whole, he has come to this battle willing to take risks, willing to give it his all and we’re part of that.
“We’ve all done our part this year to the ups and downs. I think from Seb’s point of view it just gives him more strength to come back next year and say, ‘This is unfinished business.’”
Having previously worked with Hamilton and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher at Mercedes, Clear says it is unfair to compare the methods of each driver because it is often underestimated how important the team around the driver is in order to achieve success.
“We don’t get the opportunity to make the ideal driver. So they all attack it in a different way. The opposition and the competition of the hour of the year obviously varies, so with all sportsman it’s very difficult to make direct comparisons.
“All I can say is that the common theme that all of these top drivers have is that they are exceptionally focused. They are exceptionally sensitive to everything around them. And that’s not just the car — that’s the support structure and the people around them. They require a whole load of things lining up to get those championships in the bag. And that’s where the team comes in.
“That’s why it’s not just about the driver. It’s not just about Schumacher or Vettel or Hamilton — it’s about the whole team. So we, with Seb, will create victories and championships, hopefully, down the line and it won’t be in the same way as Michael did.”