Tuesday 17 September 2019

Rosberg: Vettel feeling Ferrari heat

Former world champion Nico Rosberg. Photo: David Davies/PA
Former world champion Nico Rosberg. Photo: David Davies/PA

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Former world champion Nico Rosberg believes Sebastian Vettel is struggling to enjoy life at Ferrari.

The four-time world champion heads into his home race at Hockenheim tomorrow already a staggering 100 points adrift of Lewis Hamilton in the standings.

It is approaching a year since Vettel (32) last celebrated a win. And his number one status at Ferrari is being challenged by young Charles Leclerc in the sister car.

A fortnight ago at Silverstone, Vettel finished 16th after he crashed into the back of Red Bull's Max Verstappen, the latest in a long line of mistakes.

Ferrari's form in pre-season testing suggested Vettel would have the machinery to end the Italian team's 12-year championship drought. But so concerning is the German's form that there are question marks as to whether he will even see out his Scuderia contract which expires at the end of next season, jumping before he is pushed.

"Sebastian is having a rough season," Rosberg said.

"You start the year expecting to be the world champion and when things go wrong it is really tough.

"Being a Ferrari driver is the ultimate pressure. You have the whole of Italy on your back. It must be difficult to enjoy.

"F1 affects your mum, dad, and wife. That is why it is so intense. The suffering and the joy goes all the way to your home, and it never stops.

"Now, there is huge pressure from Leclerc, too, a young guy who is driving so well. Verstappen is in front of both Ferrari drivers in the championship. Can you believe that? S***."

Vettel will take some comfort from being fastest in first practice. Leclerc led the way in the afternoon running with Hamilton third.

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