Ecclestone: Vettel's desire to better Hamilton leads to 'silly mistakes'

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Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes Sebastian Vettel's "silly mistakes" come from his desire to beat Lewis Hamilton.

The German again caused his own downfall when racing the Briton in Bahrain as he spun after the Mercedes driver had passed him around the outside of Turn 4.

It was a moment very reminiscent of the three spins he had towards the end of 2018 and other instances when he seemed to buckle under pressure.

And Ecclestone thinks he knows why.

“I’ve thought a lot about it because I really like Sebastian and he is my friend," he told Germany's Sport Bild.

“He often makes silly mistakes when he’s fighting Lewis, it’s like a mental block for him.

“Sebastian really respects Lewis and wants to do better than him, but in Bahrain, he could have overtaken him later because his car was faster.”

Like most though, the 88-year-old tips Vettel to bounce back.

“Formula 1 needs a Sebastian who wins,” he said. “People underestimate him. He will find a way out of the low he’s in."

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Increasing the scrutiny on the four-time world champion is the new threat posed by his teammate Charles Leclerc.

Ecclestone believes, however, it was a mistake by the Scuderia to promote him over Kimi Raikkonen.

“He [Raikkonen] was a good teammate and didn’t create any problems. He knew what he had to do," he claimed.

“If he was asked to let Sebastian pass, he would. If he was asked to slow down a bit to stop an opponent and help the team, he would.”

Finally, the long-time F1 boss predicted both Hamilton & Vettel would end their careers at their respective teams, ruling out the possibility of Lewis joining Ferrari.

"I think if Mercedes stop in 2020, Lewis will stop as well," he said.

As for Vettel: "He will end his career [with Ferrari] and I think not much is needed for that to happen,” Ecclestone concluded.