Sebastian Vettel feels that not winning during his final two years in F1 with Aston Martin taught him “a lot”.
The German experienced the majority of his success in the sport during the earlier years of his Formula 1 career, having achieved his first win with Toro Rosso during his first full season in 2008.
He went on to join Red Bull in 2009 and claimed back-to-back championships between 2010 and 2013.
Vettel did not win a race in 2014, but returned to the top spot of the podium when he became a Ferrari driver in 2015.
Ultimately, though, he failed to win a title in his years with the Scuderia and was replaced by Carlos Sainz for the 2021 campaign, leading Vettel to sign for Aston Martin.
Following two years with the British outfit – in which his best result was a second place at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – the four-time World Champion opted to retire from F1 at the end of 2022.
While his fortunes on the track changed over the years, Vettel does not regret that the bulk of his achievements came during his early years in the sport.
Vettel reflects on changing fortunes
When asked on the Beyond The Grid podcast if winning so much in his first six years in Formula 1 had given him an unrealistic expectation, Vettel explained: “No, not really. I don’t think so.
“I didn’t count [to] myself, as in, ‘Now it’s year five, and it’s better than year four.’ I never looked at it that way.
“I think you understand also, that – especially after the 2010 to 2013 wave, and then the 2014 ‘hole’ where I didn’t win a race – you were happy then after some races to be back on the podium, because you [hadn’t] been for a while.
“It’s normal, it changes your view on things, whereas if you’re at the front and winning all the time, then being second and third, you are not happy or pleased with yourself.
“So then the years with Ferrari, they were a bit up and down, but overall [I was] still at the front.”
What not winning at Aston Martin taught Vettel
Vettel believes that his final two years in the sport at Aston Martin gave him an increased sense of perspective.
“You could argue [that] the last two years in a way taught me a lot [due to] not being able to win races because the car wasn’t good enough,” the 35-year-old said.
“That’s the nature of our sport, which, if you’re at the front, you sort of ignore because it just doesn’t touch you. When you’ve always been in a very competitive car at the front, then you don’t see what’s happening in the back, but the efforts by the teams and the drivers are probably as high.
“The push is as high, but nobody mentions it and [it receives] less light, less focus.
“But it taught me a lot in terms of understanding that if things don’t go that way – and they might have as well, in the bigger picture – then it would have been a very different sort of time spent in Formula 1 and [there would have been] different expectations.
“So I think it always depends where you are hovering around the grid. I also believe you can fight your way up and you deserve the place at the front.
“But it’s also true that the guys that are in P10, P12, P15, they’re not idiots and they would be winning races if they were in the right car.
“So that’s where it would be nice to see in the future maybe if our sport was coming a little bit closer together, so that you will see more drivers at the front battling for podiums and wins.”
- Vettel: Not winning at Aston Martin taught me a lot
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