Sebastian Vettel’s five-year stint at Ferrari ended in failure. He won 14 races – only Michael Schumacher (71) and Nike Lauda (15) had more victories while driving for the Scuderia.
“It still doesn’t change anything,” Vettel said of the statistic. “We still failed. We had the ambition and target to win the championship and we didn’t. We were up against a very strong team/driver combination, but our goal was to be stronger than that and in that regard we failed.
“There are reasons for it, we had good races, bad races, sometimes were close, sometimes were far away. There’s a lot of reasons why.”
The pressure from the Ferrari fans and the Italian media can be intense on Ferrari drivers, but Vettel topped that with his own pressure.
“Pressure you put on yourself,” said the German driver. “I had a clear mission and target to win. I have an emotional attachment to the team, growing up seeing Michael (Schumacher) win. So it was a very special moment when I joined the team.
“But the pressure thing – the fact the pressure in Italy, the fans and so on — yes it’s there, but I always set the highest expectations on myself.
“I was the first and best judge if I didn’t achieve them. Rest assured when I stuffed the car in the gravel in Germany (in 2018) I wasn’t happy before the tifosi weren’t happy. It sounds nice and it adds a bit of drama to everything, but I’m definitely not using 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 realize that yourself. It isn’t depending on pressure from outside.”
Vettel, who moves to Aston Martin in 2021, noted that Ferrari changed a lot during his five years with the team.
“We started off with different people in the lead, the personnel,” he said. “The atmosphere in the garage is still the same, the spirit remains unbroken. It’s a shame we didn’t achieve what we set out to achieve but there’s reasons for the strengths and probably reasons for the weaknesses in the past years.
“I would say it’s still quite a bit different. In some things the team has evolved in other things maybe there’s still room (to improve). Time will tell. Charles (Leclerc who has a Ferrari contract through 2024) has a long time ahead of him with the team, a lot of work.
“We’ll see how it evolves, but for me the chapter ends here and I’m starting a new one with a different team, which I’m very excited about.”