Hamilton 'empathises' with Vettel plight at Ferrari, praises his 'character'

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Lewis Hamilton is trying to "empathise" with Sebastian Vettel's situation at Ferrari, as he praises the "character" he is showing.

The two drivers, with a combined 10 Formula 1 titles between them, have formed a healthy respect for each other during their career, something that was evident, most of the time, during their championship duels in 2017 and 2018.

Fast forward to now, however, and their outlooks are very different with Hamilton still flying high at Mercedes, while Vettel is facing a tough decision about his future after being dropped by Ferrari.

So far this year, however, the German's farewell from the Scuderia hasn't been a good one and his recent troubles have left Hamilton feeling sorry for Vettel.

“I saw the difficult race he had had previously and all I can try to do is empathise with the position he’s in and try to be understanding,” he said on Friday.

“It can never be a great feeling to be told that you’re not wanted and to continue within the team, especially when you join a team and you’re in a team, you give your all, you give your heart.

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“But I think the way he’s pushing, the way he’s continuing to try and help the team just shows the great character he has and his commitment to racing," Hamilton added.

“I hope that something really positive comes up for him moving forwards.”

More broadly, Ferrari has admitted the team is dealing with issues that go back years, as a combination of having their engine performance hit by FIA technical directives and a chassis that is underwhelming sees them fall back into the clutches of the midfield pack.

Unsurprisingly, that has resulted in pressure growing on team boss Mattia Binotto, who triggered an overhaul of the technical department, including giving up the role of technical director.

And that action does appear to address some of the reasons that former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore believes they have lost their way.

“There are people who always follow the difficult path, the most complicated roads, and at the moment that is Ferrari,” he told the Italian version of BetWay.

“Ferrari is an important business and a spectacular name, any driver would want to drive for them for two or three years.

“But then you look at the track and they have had problems for years. They’ve had great drivers and not won anything, and there must be a reason.

“The reason, in this case, is that Ferrari does not have clear leadership. When there is no clear leader, not everyone pushes in the same direction.

“If the direction is set by three, four, five people, the results are what they are.

“Right now, Ferrari is not really Ferrari.”