Analysis: If Vettel wasn't thinking about retirement before, he is now

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Oh Formula 1, why do you have to keep doing this to yourself...

After a year of Mercedes domination, the sport was finally treated to a head-to-head duel between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton at the Canadian Grand Prix.

But rather than a heroic tale of the Ferrari driver holding the world champion at bay to end his team's winning run, instead, a controversial penalty decision has stolen all the attention.

The frustrating part is while it is clear the penalty was harsh, the offence he was committed of, an unsafe re-entry to the circuit, does hold a lot of weight.

For all the talk of grip levels on the grass and when he rejoined the track, it was possible for Vettel to try and come back on further around the next corner.

Of course in doing so, he would have almost certainly given up the lead to Hamilton who had the momentum by taking the chicane correctly.

So it was Sebastian's instinctive decision to try and defend his position by taking a more aggressive line across the inside of the track which led to the close call against the wall.

At almost any other circuit too, the Mercedes would have simply powered past by running off-track to avoid the Ferrari, so it was ultimately a case of Vettel being damned if he did and damned if he didn't.

His reaction to the penalty was understandable, of course, it was very hard to judge exactly where Hamilton would have been and, on the line he took, he did very little place to go than right back across the circuit.

But it did seem clear that his main unhappiness was at the consequences of the penalty because, after a season of frustration he finally had a car that could win and now it was taken away by race officials.

And in his comments during the press conference post-race, Vettel sounded off more on his frustrations with F1 rather than the incident itself.

“I really love my racing. I’m a purist,” he said.

“It’s not just about that decision today. There are other decisions and the wording when people come on the radio we have now – we have an official language that I think is all wrong. We should be able to say what we think, but we’re not.

“I’m not happy about all this complaining and stuff that we see so many times. It’s racing. It’s common sense.

“In this regard, I disagree with where the sport is now. We have all this wording, I gained an advantage, I didn’t gain an advantage, I avoided a collision, all this – I just think it’s wrong. It’s not really what we’re doing in the car.

“Nowadays I don’t like it. We all sound a bit like lawyers using the official language and I just think it gives no edge to people and no edge to the sport.

“Ultimately it’s not the sport I fell in love with when I was watching [as a child].”

Just in that collection of sentences the truth was revealed.

In the build-up to the race weekend, a rumour from Monaco was addressed that the four-time champion was considering retirement at the end of 2019.

Naturally, it was all denied as you'd expect, but all it took was one moment of real controversy for Vettel's real feelings to show.

After five years of watching Mercedes win everything, and doing so at his expense the past two seasons, he has seen his dream for a Ferrari world title slip further away in 2019.

Not only that, he now has a young teammate in Charles Leclerc vying for his throne and the realisation is obvious that sooner or later, the Monegasque will be the man at Maranello.

Now, with not even a stewards' investigation going his way, the question of whether he can ever achieve the success he craves only gets bigger.

And while it would still be a surprise to see Vettel call it a day at the end of this season, anyone who thought the rumour was 'fake news' before should be in no doubt it isn't now.