Outgoing Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel has opened up about his ‘failure’ to win a Formula One championship with the iconic Italian team, as well as expressing regret about his exit from former team Red Bull.
In a highly-anticipated one-on-one interview with Sky Sports host Martin Brundle, himself a former F1 driver, Vettel admitted his time with Ferrari had fallen short of the lofty expectations he had when he joined the team for the 2015 season.
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The German driver said it had always been his dream to race for Ferrari, having been heavily influenced as a child during compatriot Michael Schumacher’s era of F1 dominance with the team in the early 2000s.
“I don’t want to say I was brainwashed, but obviously massively inspired by my childhood, by Michael (Schumacher) in the red car.
“Looking back, our mission, my mission, my target was to win the championship.
“We didn’t do that, so in that regard we failed, but still we had some really good years and some highlights and good races, so I don’t regret it.”
While Vettel was unable to add to his four F1 driver’s championship wins during his time with Ferrari, he still won 14 races for the Scuderia - the third most for any Ferrari driver behind Schumacher and Niki Lauda.
He also compares favourably to other Ferrari greats such as Kimi Raikkonen, Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in terms of races started, podiums and pole positions for Ferrari - making his stint with the Scuderia far from an outright failure.
Sebastian Vettel’s regret over Red Bull F1 exit
After winning all four of his world championships consecutively from 2010 to 2013 with Red Bull Racing, Vettel shocked the F1 world by announcing his switch to Ferrari late in the 2014 season.
After struggling to compete with new teammate, Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo, Vettel announced he would use a provision in his contract to make the switch to Ferrari.
The 33-year-old said he regretted the way he left the team, after enjoying such a successful run with the team.
“What I do regret is a little bit the way things ended,” he said.
“Obviously, we didn’t finish on a high, but that’s how the sport is sometimes, but looking back it was a bit of a weird constellation with contracts, what I was supposed to say, allowed to say, not allowed to say.
“That looking back, I have to say I regret, because I think we had such a fantastic time together.”
Vettel struggled during the opening two rounds of the truncated F1 season in Austria, before bouncing back with an impressive 5th place at the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend.
F1 has a break this weekend before the fourth round of the season gets underway at Silverstone, in Great Britain.