Sebastian Vettel is confident that he can beat anyone on the grid, saying that winning and fearing opponents “don’t go together”.
The German was beaten comfortably by Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc in 2019, and it was the first time that he lost to a team-mate since 2014 when Daniel Ricciardo got the better of him.
However, he disagrees with claims that he struggles to cope when faced with strong competition from across the garage, saying that he wasn’t outperformed by the Aussie that year.
“I don’t see it that way at all,” said Vettel to German publication Motorsport Magazin.
“I understand that people refer to 2014. I lost on paper and it’s fair to say that because the numbers say I lost to Daniel, but I also know that in 2014 some things did not go as we hoped they would.”
“My primary goal in 2014 was not to stand on the podium or to finish fifth. My goal was to win races. Perhaps my attitude at that time was slightly different from Daniel’s, but more than that, 2014 was not a great year,” Vettel added.
“I don’t want to say that I was out of luck, but I was let down a few times, the car didn’t work as it should and so on. That may distort the picture and the numbers.”
The 32-year-old’s struggles in 2019 have led to many believing he’s past his best, but he still feels he’s the best on the grid on his day, saying that it wouldn’t make sense not to.
“It’s important that I know how the year went and how I feel about it,” Vettel said
“I witnessed Daniel’s success in 2014 firsthand and as his teammate. I still do that, I have no problem with that,” Vettel added.
“But I’m also confident that I can beat anyone who drives out there. I’m not afraid of the competition.”
“The contrary would make no sense. If you want to win and fear competition, these are two things that don’t go together.”