Sebastian Vettel says his six years at Ferrari were “a rollercoaster ride” as he heads into his final race with the team at the 2020 Formula 1 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

The four-time world champion will end his Ferrari stint in Abu Dhabi this weekend ahead of a switch to the Aston Martin works team for 2021, after the Italian outfit told Vettel before the start of the season that it would not be renewing his deal and would instead sign Carlos Sainz to partner lead driver Charles Leclerc

Despite arriving at Ferrari with high hopes back in 2015, Vettel has been unable to add to his four previous titles he achieved with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013, with Vettel and Ferrari notably beaten to the 2017 and 2018 world championship by Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. 

Vettel’s crash at the 2018 German Grand Prix is often considered as being a decisive turning point in his career at Ferrari, however, the German does not feel that moment alone caused a downfall.  

“It was pretty much a rollercoaster ride over the years with a lot of things happening,” Vettel said. “In terms of momentum in that year it wasn’t helping. 

“The mistake was a little mistake, with a huge outcome, a huge penalty. There were definitely more things happening. 

“In the ’18 season, we had the passing of Mr Marchionne, the change in (team) leadership from Maurizio [Arrivabene] to Mattia [Binotto]. So maybe the ’18 year was decisive for many things. 

“But I don’t know if you can break it down into only one thing. In 2016, we parted ways with James because of personal conflicts at the time.

“Looking back, there were a lot of things we should have and could have done better. The main thing is to make sure I learn from it, and I have grown from it.” 

Despite recording the third most amount of wins managed by any Ferrari driver with 14 victories across six seasons, Vettel says describing his tenure at Maranello as a “failure” is simply an honest summary.

“We had the ambition and target to win the championship and we didn’t,” Vettel explained. “I think it’s just an honest reflection. 

"I don’t think saying it out loud changes anything. We were up against a very strong team-driver combination, one of the strongest we have seen so far, but our goal was to be stronger than that and we failed. 

“There are reasons for that. We had good and bad races. We got close and sometimes were far away.” 

While Vettel admitted that he did feel the pressure of being a Ferrari driver, he insisted it was not the reason for why things did not work out as he had hoped. 

“It sounds nice and it adds a little bit of drama to everything,” he explained, "but I am definitely not holding that as an excuse for coming short here and there. If you are ambitious to win and you have the target to win and succeed, you are the first one to realise that yourself. It isn’t depending on the pressure from outside.

“Overall, I feel much more comfortable or in a better place now than those years ago but at the time it hasn’t always been easy or straightforward.”

 

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