A far from rosy picture is being painted about Sebastian Vettel and his current relationship with Ferrari as his 2018 Formula 1 title chances all-but end.
The German once again found himself on the wrong end of two key moments during the United States Grand Prix weekend as he was penalised for speeding under red flags during Friday practice and then made contact with a Red Bull for the second straight race, this time Daniel Ricciardo on Lap 1.
While Lewis Hamilton wasn't able to secure the championship with a difficult race of his own, a third-place finish did move the Briton to within five points of his fifth F1 crown, something he should achieve in Mexico.
Reflecting on the weekend though, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Vettel missed an open goal in Austin.
"Imagine Sebastian not spinning out on Lap 1, I think he would have probably won the race easily," said the Austrian as a reason for his team to still remain focused on securing a fifth consecutive championship double.
Liberty Media motorsport boss Ross Brawn also commented on the 31-year-old's errors and does think it's a sign of a greater problem.
“I certainly don’t want to put Vettel in the dock, but these incidents can no longer be seen as a coincidence," he was quoted by PlanetF1.
“Rather they would seem to indicate that Sebastian is a bit out of sorts at the moment.
“Now, any hope of bringing the drivers’ title back to Maranello is dwindling and the time has come to do the maths.
“Their most important task is to work out how to help Vettel make the most of his massive talent.”
The question is whether the relationship between Vettel and Ferrari is on steady ground with ex-F1 driver David Coulthard making quite the revelation.
“He says he’s tired, when you’re tired you go for your comfort blanket. I’ve seen him around Red Bull more often in the last few races than at any other time that he’s been at Ferrari," he told Channel 4.
“So he’s not knuckling down with his comfort blanket at Ferrari.
“To me, it looks like he’s not only tired of the recovery drives, he’s just not as happy within the team as he was at Red Bull.”
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