Despite Valtteri Bottas denying a Mercedes’ interest on Sebastian Vettel, many Formula 1 fans still hope to see the German defying Lewis Hamilton on the same car. The two drivers, counting ten world championships combined, have almost monopolised the last decade of the sport and indeed an equal fight between the two would be the ultimate dream for many.
Even Helmut Marko put his own name on this list, possibly both for personal interest and for the sake of the sport.
“That would be great for motorsport,” he said. “Vettel versus Hamilton in a Mercedes, what could be better?”.
Beside the great meaning such a battle would have, the Austrian of course also wishes the scrap would play in favour of Red Bull: “Two years ago [Hamilton and Vettel in Mercedes] would always have 1st and 2nd place. I hope we [Red Bull] are so close now to preventing that from happening”.
But what if Bottas’ words eventually came out to be true? Sebastian and his current team Ferrari last month decleared not to be willing to continue their relationship, with the #5 about to be replaced by Carlos Sainz from 2021.
Vettel is now vacant and if Mercedes wasn’t an option, Helmut Marko would suggest him to take a year away from the paddock: “If he doesn’t get the Mercedes seat, it makes sense to take a year off [and] watch what happens. For 2022 there will be a completely new set of regulations and the budget limit, so there will be a complete reorganisation, and I see his situation as an opportunity for him to join a winning team”.
Still, according to Marko, this year’s biggest headaches will be on Ferrari, and team principal Mattia Binotto in particular.
“Seb will certainly not let himself be told anything” the Austrian talent scout predicted. The Scuderia has indeed known this issue in recent times, when Kimi Raikkonen was told just ahead of the Italian GP he would no longer have been a Ferrari driver. The Finn, starting from pole, refused to play a team game and sent Vettel into the bite of title-rival Lewis Hamilton. Under pressure for this unexpected response by Raikkonen, the German ended up spinning after a contact with Hamilton on the opening lap, putting the last nail in his championship-hopes’ coffin. Let alone the fact that, differently from his tough relationship with Charles Leclerc, Vettel and Raikkonen were considered a risk-free line-up.