Vettel 'one race away' from turning season around - Ricciardo

Oleh Ben Spratt 19 September 2019 8
Vettel 'one race away' from turning season around - Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo feels four-time Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel is just one race win away from rediscovering his best form.

Ferrari star Vettel has not won in over a year and is toiling in fifth in the drivers' championship, having finished 13th last time out at the Italian Grand Prix as young team-mate Charles Leclerc celebrated a second consecutive victory.

The German has looked completely out of sorts in 2019, yet Renault driver Ricciardo - another man struggling to live up to previous heights - does not believe he is far from turning it around.

Ricciardo suggests his former Red Bull team-mate Vettel was dealt a significant setback at Montreal, where a five-second penalty for an unsafe re-entry to the track cost him victory, but believes he has the talent to recover.

"It's maybe a similar position to where he was in 2014 [fifth for the season] and he bounced back in the second race in 2015 when he won in Malaysia," Ricciardo said of Vettel ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

"So he definitely has the ability to bounce back. All it's going to take is one race.

"I think it's just been a bit of an [after] effect as well; it probably started - at least from the outside - in Canada. Obviously, with the controversy there, it could've been his first win of the year.

"If that got done differently, that might have changed the whole outcome of the next few races.

"He's always been strong here in Singapore so this could be the weekend that he does turn it around, but he's just one race away from turning it around.

"Obviously, there are a lot of things to deal with in this sport, especially when you're at the top. It's not just talent any more, it's pressure, it's head space, it's where you're at in your personal life, but you don't lose your talent.

"So can he still drive very fast? Absolutely. He's just waiting for that weekend to put it all together and get himself back. It could very well happen this weekend."

Ricciardo is also hoping he can improve on what has been a difficult first campaign at Renault, having enjoyed a season-high fourth-place finish at Monza.

"In the last few races, we seem to have performed better on the lower downforce circuits," he said.

"But going back to Monaco, that's probably the most similar circuit to here and we qualified quite well there, so we have the potential to be good on this circuit.

"I don't think it comes as naturally for us or our car at this circuit, but I think we can put it together."

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