Sebastian Vettel retirement claims shut down but German’s Aston Martin woes branded ‘sad’

Sebastian Vettel sits in Aston Martin Formula One car

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Former F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve says it’s sad to see four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel struggle in the championship, but thinks it’s ‘crazy’ to think he would step away from the sport just because he’s underperforming.

It’s been a tough few seasons for Vettel with Ferrari, and after he was axed from the Italian team, hadn’t fared much better at Aston Martin with no top-10 finishes from the first four races.

However Monaco seemed a turning point for the German, a place he has won twice before, starting eighth on the grid just behind Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel managed to pull off a spectacular overcut during the race on both Hamilton and Pierre Gasly, crossing the line in fifth place in Monte Carlo.

Vettel currently sits 11th in the standings with 10 points, and Villeneuve praised his performance, but issued a stark warning to the German.

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“This weekend was good, before that it was just a continuation of the last two Ferrari years,” Villeneuve told motorsport-magazin.com.

“That was sad to see. This weekend he made the difference.

“The car is not what they expected, the old Mercedes doesn’t work with the new rules. As a team, you can’t develop that.”

However the French-Canadian was adamant Vettel hasn’t lost his spark in F1, and says performing well around a tricky circuit like Monaco showed his credentials.

“You don’t do well at Monaco if you don’t still have the fire in you,” Villeneuve added.

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“He made the difference there, The car isn’t what they expected. The old Mercedes doesn’t work with the new rules and as a team they can’t develop it.”

Some have suggested that Vettel, 33, should have retired after losing his seat to Carlos Sainz Jnr at the start of the season.

But Villeneuve dismissed the notion, explaining that at the end of the day it’s a ‘job’.

When asked if he should retire, the 1997 world champion replied: “Why? He’s in Formula One, making a lot of money.

“It doesn’t matter that he’s a four-time world champion.

“People always say ‘Oh he’s not winning, he should step down’. But it’s a real-life job too. It’s fun to race, but it’s also a job with which you pay for your children’s education.

“So if you can still drive in Formula One, be something like competitive, have fun driving a car and make millions in the process, why should you step down if you’re not scared of dying or something?

“It’s always the craziest question I’m asked.”

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