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Vettel reveals 'handwritten letters from fans' gave him renewed energy and belief

  • Published on 22 Sep 2019 18:56
  • comments 20
  • By: Dieter Rencken & Rob Watts

Sebastian Vettel has paid tribute to the fans who sent handwritten letters of support to him during the past few weeks and says they gave him “a lot of energy” coming into this weekend.

After a difficult few weeks during which time he’s seen team-mate Charles Leclerc record back-to-back wins while he suffered the embarrassment of an unforced spin and a penalty that left him out of the points at Monza, Vettel bounced back to claim his fifth Singapore Grand Prix victory to end a 12-month winless streak stretching back to last season’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Speaking after the race, Vettel revealed how a number of notes and messages sent to him by fans lifted his spirits and gave him belief that his form would soon return.

“[I received] a lot of little notes and handwritten letters, and obviously [when] people make the effort to write something you find a bit of time in the evening to go through them, it’s really encouraging,” Vettel said.

“I got a lot of energy just from the messages I received from the racing world, from people I know from a long time ago, especially from fans. After Monza, and then coming here, people [shared with me] their own story of when things are up and when things go down.

“Obviously, for us, everything is centred around racing but it's not the most important thing. When you read some of these notes and see that people struggle in life, some were very intimate and private, it gets to you, and it gave me a lot of belief and confidence to keep trying.

“I knew we weren’t far away from a breakthrough moment [and although] Charles has been very strong and was right to win the last two races, I knew as well on our side that we just needed to keep doing our job and sooner or later things will fall in to place. Obviously, I’m happy that it was sooner rather than later.”

Following suggestions that Ferrari may decide to make Leclerc its number one driver following Vettel’s recent run of bad results, the four-time champion explained that silencing his doubters was “maybe less satisfying than you think” and dismissed the criticism he’s received lately as “just part of the game”.

“I’ve been around now for a long, long time. It’s how the tide turns sometimes,” Vettel said.

“I have the highest expectations of myself and I'm not happy when I'm not delivering what I know I can. Certainly, I’ve had moments this year when I was struggling to just get it out.

"I know I need to improve from there so I cannot be happy with that, but equally, I know it wasn’t as bad or as disastrous as maybe people put it together.

“I think if you’ve been around for such a long time and you’ve had so many good moments, then obviously you get hammered when there are bad moments, but I think that’s just part of the game.”

Vettel also denied suggestions that his Singapore victory was a more important one for him than for the team, and adding, “I think you are very misled if you think if you are ever bigger than this team. I don’t think any individual can be bigger than this team.”

He went onto explain, “Obviously this is a victory for the team because if you look at the hard facts, we came here after being completely destroyed in Hungary [a track similar in terms of car specification], we had a minute to the leaders.

"Coming here [to Singapore] to be in a position where we are able to fight for pole yesterday and take control of the race, that’s a team success, that’s what I honestly feel.

“I was very down after Monza for myself but up for the team. Obviously today I'm a bit more up for myself but still very up for the team because it was a very positive surprise with how we were able to be more competitive here.”

Replies (20)

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  • abhidbgt

    Posts: 246

    Good on you, man!

    • + 1
    • Sep 22 2019 - 19:27
  • dr002

    Posts: 141

    All I can say is god damn Booooooo! Ferrari is pathetic, what an ABSOLUTE JOKE!

    Makes a mockery of F1.

    I simply can not fathom Vettlel's sense of entitlement, it is obscene! Vettel is an absolute joke, why would Ferrari even consider 'gifting' the race to this self righteous jerk, OMG.

    • + 2
    • Sep 22 2019 - 21:01
    • Lol you can change Vettel and insert Lecrec and that would be spot on. The Lecrec bandwagon is now the most toxic bunch imbeciles new to F1 previously it was all Mad max now that novelty has worn off they have found a new one.

      Vettel creamed Lecrec deal with it dipshits. Vettel is not there to go slow so that pole man here to keep his win. Vettel brought himself into play the strategy just came at the right time to try undecut Hamilton nothing more. Vettel just went one better.

      • + 1
      • Sep 23 2019 - 06:25
    • Dert38

      Posts: 273

      name your acc 000000000002

      • + 0
      • Sep 24 2019 - 17:51
  • He can thank Ferrari for handing him this one. Honestly after the last few races, I expected that the #1 treatment Seb gets would be over. Clearly it isn't. That's fine though. Maybe we'll actually get an intra-Ferrari battle for the first time in history, in spite of the teams efforts to prevent it.

    • + 1
    • Sep 22 2019 - 21:37
  • DGuzmanG

    Posts: 14

    What on earth are you guys on?? Yes he benefitted from the strategy by a decision he and his engineer made together in a split second to cover the RedBull of Max, because neither Leclerc nor Ham pitted on that lap, but Max Was, and he then drove a stellar out lap which saw him undercutting Leclerc... That's on him.

    Vet pitstop was 3.0 while Charles was 2.3 and still he came out ahead, and then cleared traffic faster than Charles to build a gap that was squashed by the SAFETY cars, and he then build more gap.

    So yes the strategy helped him, but his out lap and moves to clear traffic were his.

    Also remember that Vettel threw himself under the bus at Spa to help Charles win, and at Monza Charles didn't return the favor at the whole Q3 fiasco...

    All in all I think Charles also needed this to remain humble and mature, because as good as he is... He must not forget there's a 4 time world champion on the next garage.

    Ferrari got it right, if they didn't do that, then Max would have gotten ahead, so Ferrari turned a 1-3 into a 1-2 and that is what counts...

    • + 6
    • Sep 22 2019 - 23:33
    • Reifer-5

      Posts: 4

      You summed it up perfectly, I'm so glad to see there are still people like you who can use their brain!

      • + 3
      • Sep 22 2019 - 23:51
    • f1ski

      Posts: 616

      I hope seb reads these. I have written him off but Vettel earned this race. He dealt with the back markets only Louis and Verstappen can. Aggressive and in control it was beautiful. I have to Hanson’s it to MB for adjusting on the fly to try to make it work. The one who should be pissed is Bottas. Also how could Leclerc be pissed sebs help in spa let him win. Today the pit strategy was reactive and brilliant. Ferrrari I think baited Hamilton to try too many times to get passed Leclerc to use up his tires

      • + 1
      • Sep 23 2019 - 00:06
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 246

      I completely agree, it was that out lap that did it. A logical view of things is always better.

      • + 0
      • Sep 23 2019 - 04:09
    • dr002

      Posts: 141

      You’ve got to be kidding me!

      It is clear from Leclerc asking the team on lap 15 could he now push and form a gap, that the team had instructed Leclerc to drive slowly and back the field up, thus enabling Vettel to remain within striking distance of an undercut on Hamilton by way of dropping him into the ten second gap that had formed between Grosjean and Hulkenburg (which Leclerc could have been dropped into laps earlier).

      Ferrari timed this to perfection. Vettel pitted and came out ahead of Hulkenberg (Verstappen didn’t) on fresh tyres and 11 seconds of clear track enabling him to undercut both Leclerc and Hamilton thereby giving Ferrari the one / two.

      Job done. Leclerc did what was expected of him for the team to secure the one / two. It had absolutely nothing to do with Vettel and his engineer making a split second decision “to cover the RedBull of Max”. Without Leclerc’s assistance and without Vettel pitting first, Vettel would never have had the opportunity of passing Hamilton.

      Leclerc has out qualified and outraced Vettel at every point since the Summer break (and prior to it). Leclerc earnt and rightly deserved the opportunity to pit ahead of Vettel…….. Just imaging had the tables been turned, Vettel would have been squealing and spitting the dummy like an entitled child, just as he always does.

      It was right for Ferrari to pit Vettel first in order to secure the one two, but in doing so the team should have shown their respect for Leclerc and given the instruction to put him back ahead of Vettel immediately after.

      Vettel’s carry on after the race that his motivation and first place came from the little notes and handwritten letters from fans is insipid nonsense. Once again, but for standing on the shoulders of his team mate, Vettel would not have won the race.

      • + 0
      • Sep 23 2019 - 05:39
    • dr002

      Posts: 141

      .... Sorry, the gap that had formed was between Stroll and Hulkenburg.

      • + 0
      • Sep 23 2019 - 06:19
    • @Dr002 you have been spouting the same BS in every Vettel thread now. Butthurt Lecrec dimwit fan detected! How is that burn eh? No matter what mental gymnastics you try to employ Vettel just out drove whiner boy Lecrec. Lecrec stole pole by denying a tow at Monza. Not a peep from parasites like you.

      Read it again so it gets into your slow brain. Vettel was faster and consistently slicing through traffic. Lecrec couldn't even build a gap that was supposed to be his task to protect his lead.

      • + 1
      • Sep 23 2019 - 06:34
    • Excellent......

      • + 1
      • Sep 23 2019 - 07:25
    • kroketje76

      Posts: 16


      that's not what Binotto says...

      That particular circumstance arose at the end of Lap 18, when Ferrari spotted Red Bull’s pit crew emerging from their garage, with Max Verstappen duly called in from P4. Unable to call Leclerc into the pits in time even if they’d wanted to, instead Vettel, some four seconds further back, received a late call to pit from third place, before then pounding in a rapid out-lap to emerge with the net lead after Leclerc’s own stop a lap later.

      • + 1
      • Sep 23 2019 - 12:21
    • dr002

      Posts: 141

      I am indifferent when it comes to Leclerc, however it would be true to say that I am no fan of Vettel’s…... Having said that, in my previous posts you’ll see that I strongly rallied behind Vettel when it came to the penalty handed him in Canada.

      With respect to Monza, Vettel was initially supposed to give Leclerc a tow but ‘somehow’ locked up at the chicane. Leclerc then drafted both Renaults to ‘EARN’ his time, but as usual even though Vettel didn’t fulfil his roll, he still expected the tow from Leclerc. So yes, you are right, I’ve got no problem with Leclerc not providing Vettel with a tow at Monza.

      As for Leclerc not building a gap to protect his lead in Singapore, it was clear from radio calls that Leclerc had been instructed to back up the field, which backed Hamilton up into Vettel, thus keeping an undercut over Hamilton alive for Vettel.

      As @Kroketje76 pointed out, Vettel “received a late call to pit from third place before then pounding in a rapid outlap to emerge with the net lead”……. Vettel was on fresh tyres and had 11 seconds of clear track ahead of him, of course he secured the overcut…… So no @mclarenfan1968, Vettel DID NOT get ahead of Leclerc by “consistently slicing through traffic”, both Vettel and Leclerc did not get near traffic for another 2 laps.

      Of course Ferrari closed off the threat of an undercut from Verstappen, though it is also clear they were attempting an undercut themselves on Hamilton. Both Ferrari and Redbull had held off pitting Vettel and Verstappen until they were able to ensure that their drivers got out ahead of Hulkenburg and into free air. Vettel did, Verstappen did not. In fact had Verstappen got out ahead of Hulkenburg there is the real chance Verstappen would also have ended up ahead of Leclerc, such was the effect of the undercut in the race.

      My point is that Leclerc earned the right to pit first by virtue of his performance over past races, by virtue of out qualifying Vettel in such an emphatic manner and by virtue of being the lead Ferrari in the race. After his pit stop Leclerc re-entered the track immediately behind Vettel and it would be another 2 laps before they both caught up to traffic, so Ferrari had every opportunity to instruct Vettel to give first place back to Leclerc in acknowledgment of Leclerc not being provided with the opportunity to pit first.

      I believe that Vettel, and indeed any driver, should ‘earn’ number one status at a team, not be ‘gifted’ it based on performances at another team, in another era, 5 years ago. Vettel simply has not earned it, and F1 is the lessor for Ferrari keeping him as their number one driver.

      So if I am a butthurt for believing that a driver who has been consistently out performing his team mate, AND who definitively out poled his team mate, AND who was ahead of his team mate in the race; should be acknowledged by the team and granted pit stop advantages, then so be it.

      • + 1
      • Sep 24 2019 - 02:42
    • Well said DGG. You gotta put yourself in the seat of a team boss, and ask what would you do? Ferrari nailed it this weekend. Vettel put in a flying outlap and pulled off the brilliant undercut. It had to have been a split second call whether to pit Charles that lap and bold to call Seb in at the end of the lap. Charles is a serious contender and pretty damn mature for his age. This may both humble him and also push him to the next level as well so there won't be any doubts about who the real winner is. Finally Ferrari showing some racing bravado.

      • + 0
      • Sep 25 2019 - 07:30
  • @Dr002, what a load of bullschiit. You are regurgitating the same incoherent nonsense that the F1 echo chamber produces to justify their blind biases. Lecrec gap was not enough to even Hamilton, an undercut from Hamilton would have been just as effective, scratch that, even more so than Vettel's. So no matter what happened Lecrec was not fast enough nor was he quick enough in traffic. He wasted time defending from Hamilton most of the time. Lol @ the suggestion he was asked to back up, nope. if you really believe that, I have this here nice bridge to sell...

    Monza lecrec was a prick which is why Binoto said he forgave him after the race, no need to defend too hard here it's futile the guy was an asshole he knew full well Vettel would be a real threat for pole so he developed some on-track "issues" aka excuses for not giving that tow. Obvioulsy Vettel was pissed and was just mist for the rest of the weekend. In a way what happened here at Singapore is poetic justice for that little big headed whiner.

    Vettel's poor performances: Vettel having car balance issues is because the setup is just not what he wants it to be, drivers are fast because of their unique way they drive, their driving style, whiner boy Lecrec is just fortunate to have a balance that suits him better. before morons go around suggesting "buh buh Vettel can't adapt", learn what is adapting. Adapting is more towards dealing with issues like losing a gear or having to manage tyres to make a stint work or similar. No driver has ever gone faster by changing their sty;e to suit the car. That's against nature and years of reflexes honed in through practice, that's not adapting. Don't peddle nonsense that has no scientific grounding in biology. This is not Marvel comics where someone has a super power to suddenly adapt to a balance that is all over the place in a matter of months versus years of honed skills that is called reflexes unique to that individual By that brain-dead logic anyone should adapt to even a Sauber and go quickest. Why? Did you know that simulations with ideal racing lines and the ideal inputs results in laps times humanely impossible to achieve? Yeah, that midfield car can go faster than the pole times of even the fastest cars today in F1, with the fastest F1 cars going even faster still but no one even gets close to that because we are all human.

    It' s primarily upto the team along with driver inputs to come up with the balance that suites the driver's style. Sometimes the balance just cannot be achieved because of the way the car is designed at a fundamental level then its a season long issue until it is changed for the next year. Lecrec has achieved what? Nothing more than anyone else would have in a top flight car. Vettal has proven his mettle long long ago in a Toro Rosso in the wets at Monza, let that sink in real slow for you to assimilate. I know it is hard for most of these so called fan to actually apply reason. I laugh out loud at the low intelligence of these drones who keep shouting Vettel is done, man he sucks, he needs to retire. Oh my sides! XD

    Peace-meal show of support on one occasion doesn't say much, this is a clear cut issue Vettel was quicker yet you are whining like Lecrec, not much to see here. It's plain as day what your agenda is.

    The problem is fanbois are easy to rile up. Lay off the fanboyism Lecrec doesn't know you, Vettel doesn't know you or me, they don't care.

    • + 0
    • Sep 24 2019 - 07:10
    • dr002

      Posts: 141

      @Mclarenfan1968, I agree that Hamilton could have undercut Leclerc. There's absolutely no doubt Hamilton could have won the race had Mercedes pitted him before Leclerc and dropped him into the same gap Ferrari dropped Vettel into. I total agree with you.

      I also agree that Vettel "proved his mettle long long ago in a Torro Ross in the wets at Monza", and that, with the assistance of his team, he was once a very successful driver. He's just not as successful these days in this current design era.

      My point is that Vettel should not be 'entitled' to the number one driver status within the Ferrari team for the very reasons that you've just raised, that being that the fundamental design of the car this season (and last season, and the season before) does not suit him.

      I also agree with you that Leclerc has achieved nothing more than what a number of other drivers within F1 would have achieved "in a top flight car". I also agree that if Leclerc can outclass him, then Vettel would no doubt have been outclassed by those drivers also.

      There is no denying that Vettel has cost the team points both this year and last year, because (and we're in agreement on this point) Vettel hasn't been able to adapted to the fundamental design of the car. His other problem is one of confidence as he has turned into a Spinner.

      For the former reason alone Vettel should not be FAVOURED as the number one driver at Ferrari this year. If he earns the number one status ON HIS OWN MERIT then I'd have no problem with him being given the number one status at Ferrari once again.

      Until then, give the number one status to the driver that HAS adapted to this year's car, or put yet another way, give it to the driver that has earned it on track - this year.

      • + 0
      • Sep 24 2019 - 08:13
    • LMAO

      • + 0
      • Sep 25 2019 - 07:36
  • Dert38

    Posts: 273


    • + 0
    • Sep 24 2019 - 17:52

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