Sebastian Vettel ‘better in his skin’ after Ferrari exit

Sebastian Vettel ended the 2021 season 12th in the Drivers' Championship in his first year with Aston Martin.

Sebastian Vettel is “better in his skin” at Aston Martin following his departure from Ferrari at the end of 2020, former Formula 1 driver Anthony Davidson has opined.

He also agreed with Sky Sports colleague Martin Brundle that Vettel is no longer one of the top five drivers in the sport, based on his performance in 2021.

Vettel won 38 races with Red Bull on his way to four successive world titles between 2010 and 2013, but a poor season for Red Bull in 2014 saw him score just four podiums, leading to a fifth-placed finish in the Drivers’ Standings – 71 points behind new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

However, he reinstated himself in the top echelons in F1 when he joined Ferrari for 2015, and took his first victory with the Scuderia in just his second race in Malaysia.

Thirteen more wins would follow in red for the German thereafter, and he challenged Sir Lewis Hamilton for the title in 2017 and 2018.

READ: ‘I don’t mean it in a bad way’: Raikkonen shares view on Vettel failing to win Ferrari championship

However, a series of mistakes from both the 34-year-old and the team saw both of these campaigns rapidly unravel as Mercedes and Hamilton beat the Maranello squad in both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships.

2020 saw Vettel score one podium, and he was out-qualified 14 times in 17 races by Charles Leclerc, with the 24-year-old having also beaten the German in his first campaign with the Scuderia the year previous.

Ferrari had announced before the commencement of the 2020 season that Vettel would be leaving the team, and he moved to Aston Martin for 2021.

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Sebastian Vettel and Britta Roeske at Aston Martin in 2021.v1

During last season, Brundle suggested that the four-time world champion had already seen his best years come and go.

Davidson was asked who he thinks are the best drivers in the sport at the moment, and maintains that this is not easy to distinguish when they are in contrastingly performing cars.

“It’s always difficult to judge because the equipment you drive has a huge influence in this sport,” he told

If he had to make the choice though, Vettel would not make his top five owing the current existing talent in F1.

“But if you are talking about the best five drivers, then of course Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are among them, and I would also put Charles Leclerc among the best,” he said.

“If you then mention Carlos Sainz, you already have four. And then we have Lando Norris. That makes five. So yes, I do agree with Martin.”

READ: FIA ‘conspiracy’ against Hamilton ‘eating away’ at credibility of Formula 1

The 34-year-old scored points on seven occasions in 2021, and managed a podium finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Overall, Davidson reckons he saw a happier driver last season.

“It went a bit up and down,” he conceded

“Some circuits suited him better than others, but across the board I saw a driver who is better in his skin. And that usually results in better performance,” added the Briton.

2022 will see a new set of regulations brought in to promote better wheel-to-wheel racing, and Davidson, who contested 24 races in the sport, suggests that this may lead to an upturn in fortunes for Vettel.

“Maybe the new car being driven from this year will suit his style a little better,” theorised the former Super Aguri driver.

“I have the impression that he never quite felt at home in the bigger and heavier car that came into Formula 1 in 2014. He hasn’t been the same driver in my eyes as he was before,” he conceded.

READ: Vettel could join Mercedes if Hamilton retires after ‘rigged’ Abu Dhabi GP – Schumacher

As such, the 42-year-old believes that Vettel may thrive under the lighter cars akin to the ones that brought him such success at Red Bull.

“He did have the speed in his early days at Ferrari, but I saw a difference in the way he drove compared to those fantastic years at Red Bull,” he explained.

“I think the lighter and more agile car that was being driven back then suited his driving style much better.

“So I am very curious to see how he will do in next year’s car.”

Vettel finished 12th in the Drivers’ Championship last season, and his Aston Martin team ended the Constructors’ Championship seventh.

He and team-mate Lance Stroll have been retained for the new season which gets underway on 20 March at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

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