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Red Bull’s Horner: Sebastian Vettel “worn out” after run of world titles

Aug 12, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Britain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

It’s hard getting to the top. And it can be even harder to stay there.

Yet going into this current Formula One season, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing had been able to stay the World Champions for four consecutive seasons.

That reign is likely to end this year. With F1’s new package of technical regulations, Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are now fighting out this year’s championship in the most dominant cars on the grid.

And Vettel is being out-hustled by new teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who’s earned two wins at Canada and Hungary in his first year with the Red Bull “senior” team.

To Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, part of that comes down to Vettel simply being a bit exhausted from constantly defending his crown.

“When you have fought for the title for five years, it does wear you out a little bit,” Horner told Germany’s Auto Bild Motorsport. “But that is not the fundamental problem.”

The biggest cause of Vettel’s decline in Horner’s eyes is coping with the brake-by-wire braking system, which Horner says has robbed the German of some of his feeling with the car.

It also didn’t help that the RB10 overall wasn’t necessarily great at the start of the season.

“The driveability was really bad, so Seb could not look after the tires in the way that he always has done,” he said of Vettel.

But as Red Bull and engine manufacturer Renault have made progress in improving the car, Horner thinks Vettel is finding his way once more.

“His pace in Hungary showed he is getting the feeling for the car back again,” Horner said. “And we can’t forget how many mechanical problems Sebastian has had – many of them just little things that have disrupted his flow. So he has had less time to adapt his driving style.”

Vettel’s been knocked out early in three races this season at Australia, Monaco, and Austria.

At the most recent race in Hungary, he started on the front row but finished a sub-par seventh after a mis-timed pit stop under a safety car period and then a spin on track.

  1. techmeister1 - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Poor Seb… Ricciardo has little problem driving a bad car as he has shown all season. Instead of being honest and admitting Vettel was highly over rated and that his four championships were primarily because of Newey’s dominant cars, now Horner and Motor Mouth need to make excuses for Vettel.

    Vettel is a very good driver but not a very good person. He however is not a super hero other than in the eyes of his team and fanbois. If he were driving any other car the last four years he’d have been mid-pack and Alonso would have likely won at least two if not more championships – as virtually everyone in pit lane has agreed. Vettel is simply out classed on the track and off by Ricciardo. Hopefully fame and fortune won’t turn Ricciardo into the narcissistic arse clown that Vettel became.

    • jxegh - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:31 PM

      You say Vettel is not a very good person (and you should know, lol!!) yet defend Stewart in other posts. I could post numerous quotes by Stewart about “running over” opponents – Logano for one- but he’s a good person and couldn’t possibly have lost his cool just a bit when he accidentally hit Ward Jr.? Look, Stewart did not hit Ward Jr. on purpose, I honestly believe that. But he squeezed him to cause the wreck and then he squeezed him again the next lap and caught him with the REAR tire.

      Anyway, good to know you are an expert on all racing drivers – especially their personalities.

      • f1waybetterthannascar - Aug 13, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        and this article about Vettel has what to do with nascar?

  2. stephenwh - Aug 12, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    What a complete load of rubbish. Do you read back to yourself the stuff you write before you press the button to post?

  3. indycarseries500 - Aug 12, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    So Seb is worn out by what he’s there to do? Shouldn’t he have been worn out when he went on that string of victories at the end of last year? Give me a break Horner, your golden boy was always overrated and now his weaknesses have been exposed by Ricciardo.

  4. barrylibby - Aug 12, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Did Michael ever get tired ?

  5. techmeister1 - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:21 PM

    It’s funny…just like Vettel, Horner and Motor Mouth Marko the fanbois can’t handle reality. Denial is their salvation. Actions speak louder than words and Ricciardo has shown he’s a far better driver than Vettel. Vettel’s own comments confirm he’s become a dirtbag. Deal with it.

  6. testover6370 - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    He’s pining for the fjords.

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