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Hamilton: Time for Vettel to prove he can lead

Apr 27, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

Malaysia F1 GP Auto Racing AP

Lewis Hamilton has said that it is time for Sebastian Vettel to step up and prove himself to be a true team leader at Red Bull after the defending world champions’ poor start to the season.

Red Bull currently occupies second place in the constructors’ championship, some 97 points behind Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have made a scintillating start to the year, winning all four races and claiming three one-two finishes.

Having won the last four titles, Vettel’s hopes of making it five in a row already appear to be slim. However, Hamilton – who has won the past three races – has challenged Vettel to prove himself as a leader and rally the Red Bull team around him.

“Sebastian must now show his leadership, as the leader of the team,” the Briton explained to Bild. “When it comes to the crunch, you can transfer your strength as head of the team.”

Mercedes’ preparation for the 2014 season has given the team a clear lead over the rest of the field, whilst Red Bull has worked hard to recover after a disastrous pre-season. Hamilton still considers them to be title rivals, and is very wary of what Vettel and teammate Daniel Ricciardo could do.

“If I’m honest, I do not quite trust the situation at Red Bull,” he said. “Clearly they still seem to have problems with its engine, but regardless of the power unit, it is a strong car. I’m sure that they can catch up yet.”

Red Bull will be hoping to cut the gap at the next race, the Spanish Grand Prix, where all of the teams will be introducing their first major upgrade packages that should give the car better performance.

  1. fireblade22 - Apr 27, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    Hamilton can’t seem to open his mouth without making a colossal fool of himself. When Vettel came to Red Bull it had never won so much as a single race in its history. He’s already led the team to four WDC’s four WCC’s, and scores of race wins. But sure, let’s pretend he has to “prove he can lead”.

    How much leadership did Hamilton provide at McLaren?

    • scotiatom - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      To give Hamilton the benefit of the doubt here, This is racecraft.
      At this level, the psychological battle is as big a part of winning a race as operating a car. Anything you can do that may unsettle an opponent, cause him a flicker of doubt, should be done.

    • redrock81 - Apr 27, 2014 at 7:59 PM

      Actually, Hamilton is right.

      • cuencanolenny - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:47 PM

        And how is it that “Hamilton is right?” Please point out the numerous examples of Lewis Hamilton showing “leadership” over the years he has been in F1. I recognize his talent as a driver, however, I have never been a fan of this temper tantrum throwing punk.

      • redrock81 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:09 AM

        @cuencanolenny
        What I’m agreeing to is that Vettel needs to be a true leader. It certainly doesn’t paint a good picture of a leader when you find out that he has been throwing “hissy fits” since pre-season testing. For the past 4 years Vettel has been “me, me, me”… that “tough luck” comment is just an example of how much he thinks the team should be working around him. How many times has Mark Webber had to give up a position, a new car part so Vettel can benefit?

        The only thing I can give to him, and I applaud him for doing it is that he’s acknowledge that Ricciardo beat him fair and square in the times Daniel has outdriven him.

  2. techmeister1 - Apr 27, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    It’s just Hammy running his mouth to play head games. If the comment came from someone respectable, then it might have some merit but Hammy is a arse clown with a rockstar mentality.

    As for Vettel he’s getting his arse handed to him this year by his teammate who is simply driving better. Now Vettel knows what Webber felt like for the past three years with Red B.S. Racing intentionally sabotaging his car whenever he challenged the golden boy. I’m still waiting for Vettel’s wheels to fall off three or four times this season, his KERs to fail every other race and the pit crew forgetting how to change tires in less than 10 seconds when Vettel is leading his teammate… Vettel is an unscrupulous pig like the rest of Red B.S. Racing (excluding Ricciardo who needs to get out A.S.A.P.) and Vettel deserves a huge dose of Humble Pie for being a disrespectful punk.

    • ducati007 - Apr 27, 2014 at 8:27 PM

      I couldn’t have said it better myself, techmeister1. I’d like to give Vettel a kick in the arse.
      Oh, when u called Vettel an unscrupulous pig, sorry for the pig..ha ha

    • fireblade22 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      “with Red B.S. Racing intentionally sabotaging his car whenever he challenged the golden boy.”

      Are you related to Don Sterling? This sort of ignorant bigotry has no place in sports.

  3. wiscpaul - Apr 27, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Last year all the comments said that Vettle wasn’t cheating, he was just that good.
    I guess this proves, he isn’t.

  4. techmeister1 - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Adrian Newey won four championships. We’re not sure if Vettel won any. Pretty much any current F1 driver could have won in Newey’s cars the past four seasons – when the team wasn’t preventing them from winning as they did to Webber.

    Red B.S. Racing has been caught cheating multiple times the past three seasons. They are probably cheating right now but without the dominance they once had no one is too concerned. Expect them to be caught cheating some more in ’14. They started off by cheating with Ricciardo’s fuel meter and in excess of 100 lbs./hr fuel rate. It’s the same mentality at Red B.S. Racing. Cheat every way you can and if they only find 65% of the cheating, then they are getting away with 35%.

    • cuencanolenny - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:50 PM

      Then Mark Weber should have been first or second in every race. He wasn’t. Vettel is an excellent driver and to have finished as well as he has, or Ricciardo for that matter, shows their talent as the car is way down on power. Did you notice in China that even with DRS they had difficulty overtaking Alonso or the other Ferrari powered cars? Of course they had no chance of overtaking an MB powered car. The Mercedes car itself is enjoying a Neweyesque design advantage on the new rear suspension and that is what is separating them from the other MB powered cars. Red Bull enjoyed several years of engineering excellence. I’m sure that they and Ferrari will catch up but it may be too late. It sure is a fun season so far.

    • fireblade22 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      “Adrian Newey won four championships. We’re not sure if Vettel won any.”

      If you were honest, you’d admit that you could say as much about Hamilton, Alonso, and every other WDC winner in history. We can never be “sure” how much of any WDC was the car and how much was the driver.

      But it is quite clear that the Mercedes this year is far more dominant a car than any of the RB’s Vettel ever drove.

  5. raayn2000 - Apr 28, 2014 at 3:54 AM

    Seb is just an average driver, without the fastest car.

  6. photog645 - Apr 28, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Vettel is an excellent driver. However, it is readily apparent this year that, unless he has a car under him with a distinct performance advantage, he is not particularly better than others in the field. If left alone, Daniel Riccardo will best him in this year’s Driver’s Standings. If you really want to see who is absolutely making the most out of a mediocre car, just watch Alonso. And I am not a particular Alonso fan. It remains to be seen who is the true leader currently on the Red Bull team.

    • fireblade22 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      “If left alone, Daniel Riccardo will best him in this year’s Driver’s Standings.”

      You’re telling me what you WANT to see happen, not what the evidence to date suggests WILL happen. Vettel’s had at least as much bad luck so far this season as Riccardio, and he’s leading him in the standings. But you’re already laying the ground so that, if Seb finishes the season ahead of Danny, you will claim “the team made that happen, not Vettel”.

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