Vettel is, to many, a legend of the sport. That being said, much-loved pundit Martin Brundle believes the Aston Martin man is on the decline.
In 2018, Vettel finished second in the standings whilst driving for Ferrari; Lewis Hamilton being the man to edge him out. Since then, though, he has dropped off of the main stage and now occupies the middle of the pack.
Vettel’s last race win came at Singapore in 2019 and so Brundle’s claims may well have some validity. The debate then becomes about the car he is driving and whether, if you put Vettel back into Ferrari or Red Bull, he’d be back at the fore.
One can’t forget that Vettel won four consecutive championships from 2010 to 2013, and so he is certainly etched into the history books. Vettel is and always will be a legend of the sport.
The highlight of the 2021 season for him thus far was finishing as runner-up to Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez in Azerbaijan, following one of a number of incidents between Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the front of the grid.
“If you were to nominate the top five of the current field, I don’t think you would include Seb. His best time is behind him,” was exactly what Brundle had to say when talking to Motorsport-total.com and the stats back up his opinion.
That podium in Baku was his only one this season, which is the same amount managed by Alonso in the Alpine and George Russell in the Williams.
After the obvious two of Hamilton and Verstappen, Brundle continued with: “Then maybe Lando [Norris] and Charles Leclerc. George maybe. Or Sergio. Possibly Carlos Sainz as well. Or Fernando. Fernando definitely belongs in there!
“But whichever way you look at it, Seb doesn’t belong.”
It isn’t to say that Vettel isn’t an elite driver over the course of his career, but more so that he is in his twilight years and youngsters such as Verstappen and Norris are surpassing him.
This being the way of the world, especially in a sport as demanding as Formula 1.