It took many by surprise when Sebastian Vettel announced that he would be appearing for Aston Martin in 2021.
It came on the back of a dismal showing for Ferrari in the 2020 campaign. The team finally lost patience in the German and he was axed after a 6-year association with the Italian outfit.
While many felt this would be the season Vettel would be able to rediscover his best form, his debut for Aston Martin has been rather underwhelming.
Former world champion Damon Hill believes Vettel’s best days are well and truly behind him now. He believes Vettel has lost the psychological edge he once had.
On the podcast F1 Nation, Hill addressed these concerns.
“It’s like watching that Mexican game at the party, the pinata.
“He is getting beaten to a pulp. What’s happening to him is awful to watch.
“I do feel something has got to shift in his psychological constellation.
“He needs to see a mystic and go and have some sort of evil spirit removed from him.
“He’s done something wrong to deserve this.”
Hill said that Vettel probably does not have it in him to challenge at the top level in the sport anymore.
“I think there is some sort of psychological balance tipping point thing,” Hill said.
“It’s like a rugby tackle, you cannot go in half-baked.”
The former world champion believes the only way Vettel can recover from here is if he lets go of his previous bad experiences.
“And he’s feeling like that the punishment he’s been getting. And the bruising he’s been getting has been worrying him.
“I’m afraid it just gets worse, it has to be a kinda jettisoning of all those bad, negative feelings.
“Once he’s done that, he’s got all the ability in the world. He could race at the front with Lewis and with Max.”
Ferrari, meanwhile, opted to replace Vettel with Spanish driver Carlos Sainz. Sainz has had a decent start to life at the Maranello, and team principal Mattia Binotto recently took a sly dig at Vettel’s competency.
The Italian claimed that he finally had two drivers that he could trust, inadvertently pointing towards the woes of last season with Vettel.
Vettel endured a rather slow start to life at Aston Martin. His pre-season struggles in many ways found their way to haunt him during his debut race as well.
F1 fans will be hoping that the German can soon rediscover some of his best form.