Daniel Ricciardo believes that his former Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel can “bounce back” from his recent poor form.
Vettel has struggled in recent races, being out-qualified by his current team-mate Charles Leclerc for the last six races, and has failed to win a race this year despite Leclerc winning the last two Grand Prix at Spa and Monza.
To compound the situation even further, Vettel made an unforced error in the Italian Grand Prix, spinning at the Ascari chicane and returned to the track in an unsafe manner, making contact with the Racing Point of Lance Stroll.
That incident led to Vettel receiving a 10 second stop-go penalty, the toughest penalty to be applied in a race before a driver is disqualified, and led to further speculation that the 32-year-old may walk away from Formula 1 altogether.
But despite his recent struggles, Ricciardo believes that Vettel can get back to winning ways.
“He’s maybe in a similar position to where he was in 2014 and he bounced back.” commented Ricciardo in Thursday’s press conference at the Singapore Gran Prix.
“He definitely has the ability to bounce back. All that’s going to take is one race.
“Obviously it probably started – trying not to speak for him but at least from the outside – it probably started in Canada, obviously, the controversy there.
“It could have been his first win of the year and if that got done differently that might have changed the whole outcome of these next few races.”
Vettel has had a number of strong races at the Singapore Grand Prix, having previously won the race on four occasions, with the last of those being in 2015, and Riccardo believes it could be the weekend that turns the Ferrari driver’s form around.
“In the past, he’s always been strong here in Singapore, so this could be the weekend for him, where he does turn it around.” added Ricciardo.
“I think it’s just one… he’s one race away from turning it around.
“Obviously there’s a lot of things to deal with in this sport, especially when you’re at the top, it’s not just talent any more, it’s pressure, it’s head space, it’s where you’re at in your personal life and all this but you don’t lose your talent so can he still drive very fast? Absolutely.
“I think he’s just waiting for that weekend to put it all together and get himself back. It could very well happen this weekend.”