Martin Brundle snubs Sebastian Vettel as he ranks F1 grid’s best drivers

Sebastian Vettel sits in Aston Martin Formula One car

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Martin Brundle does not believe four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is among the elite class of Formula 1 drivers, leaving him out of his top five. Vettel has struggled for form since 2018 when he finished second in the World Championship behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, with the German taking five race wins for Ferrari.

In 2019, he claimed one win all season at the Singapore Grand Prix – in controversial circumstances – as Ferrari new boy Charles Leclerc outclassed him across the year before Vettel finished fifth in the standings.

When the 2020 season was delayed by the pandemic, Vettel was ousted from the Italian outfit with Carlos Sainz announced as Leclerc’s partner for 2021.

The German struggled as he finished P13 in the standings and achieved a single podium finish. 

Vettel has failed to recapture his best form with Aston Martin, although the sport’s newcomers have fallen short of preseason expectations. 

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Regardless, F1 broadcaster Brundle no longer regards Vettel as one of the best in the world. 

“If you were to do a top five on the grid now, I don’t think Seb would be in it,” said Brundle.

“His best is behind him. In wheel-to-wheel combat, he’s sometimes missing something. It’s been a bit like that in recent years, it must be said. 

“Then there are races like Hungary where he sees the opportunity to go for it.”

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In a chaotic race due to unsettled weather, the 34-year-old relentlessly pursued Esteban Ocon hard for the win but was disqualified from second place after the race as a sufficient fuel sample could not be taken from his Aston Martin.

When Brundle was asked to list his top five, there was no room for Vettel.

“Lewis [Hamilton], Max [Verstappen], then I would say Lando [Norris] and Charles Leclerc,” the 62-year-old said. “Who would be my fifth driver?

“It could be George [Russell]. Maybe Sergio [Perez], I might even go Carlos Sainz or Fernando [Alonso], actually. 

“Fernando definitely belongs in there now he’s back on top form, but in any which way I cut it, I don’t include Seb.”

There was no mention of Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, or the impressive Pierre Gasly either.

The Sky Sports F1 reporter has nothing but respect for the four-time world champion though. 

“It’s really hard to get to Formula 1, to finish a Formula 1 race, to score points,” Brundle added.

“It’s hard to score podiums and victories, and then it’s really hard to win a world championship, let alone multiple world championships. 

“He is a fantastic driver. You can never take that away from him because it’s so difficult to do any of those steps.

“I respect him massively and he still seems to have the motivation, which is impressive.”

Formula 1 travels to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 5, with Red Bull star Verstappen holding an eight-point lead over Mercedes’ Hamilton.

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