The dust has hardly settled on the 2018 Formula 1 season but people are already saying ‘what if’ or ‘but that’ as they reflect on Lewis Hamilton’s 5th World Championship win and another season in which Scuderia Ferrari faltered. The latest person to have his say is former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, with the bold statement that Hamilton would have won the title for Ferrari had he been at the Italian racing team.
Montezemolo is eager not to lay the blame for Ferrari’s failures on Vettel, but thinks the team would have won had they had Hamilton in their ranks.
“This year Hamilton made the difference in his best season since his debut,” the Italian said.
“He has had moments of weakness and crisis, but this year with Ferrari he would have won. I say that not to belittle Vettel, who has every opportunity to rebuild with a competitive car.”
Speaking about Vettel, Montezemolo was keen not lay blame at the Germans feet, “This Ferrari is a very different Ferrari to the one I left in October 2014, in terms of men and mentality,” he said. Montezemolo still considers Vettel to be one of the best drivers on the grid, but insists that Ferrari need to do more to support the German, even if he did make high-profile mistakes.
“Ferrari did a good car this year, which in some situations was even better than Mercedes. But the final part was missing.
“Vettel made some decisive mistakes, but for the world championship you have to do everything to keep him up. He is a driver of the highest order and always close to the team,” said Montezemolo.
“In frustration he must be supported, even more so with the arrival of a very strong boy (Leclerc) with a great future.
“Schumacher also made mistakes in the first days, but it is always important to speak clearly in the locker room and support the team in public.”
Vettel finished second in the drivers’ championship for 2018, next years F1 campaign will see he joined by former Ferrari academy driver Charles Leclerc who will be keen to prove what he is capable of after a season with the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 team.