Sebastian Vettel's season mirroring final year at Red Bull – Ross Brawn
Formula 1's managing director of motorsport, Ross Brawn, believes Sebastian Vettel's difficult season is almost a repeat of his final year at Red Bull.
Vettel, on the back of winning his fourth World Championship in 2013, saw the arrival of a new team-mate at Red Bull the following year in Daniel Ricciardo who had been promoted from junior squad Toro Rosso to replace Mark Webber.
Ricciardo went on to win three races and thoroughly beat Vettel in the standings, claiming third with 238 points compared to Vettel's 167, which was only good enough for fifth.
Fast forward five years and Vettel is struggling to match his new team-mate Charles Leclerc, who like Ricciardo stepped up from a junior team and has gone on to impress, scoring two race wins for Ferrari compared to zero for the German who has now been overtaken by Leclerc in the standings.
"To a certain extent, Sebastian is experiencing what he felt at Red Bull in his final year there, in 2014, when he found himself up against Daniel Ricciardo, a youngster setting incredible pace," said Brawn.
"What happened in the race was down to him alone. It's an unavoidable fact that no matter who the driver is and regardless of how good things are in the team, your first rival is always your team-mate."
Brawn reckons Vettel will require the support of his team to pull through a difficult period, which has also seen him make some very basic mistakes.
"Vettel is clearly one of the greats of our sport, but at this tough time he really needs the support of the team to regain the confidence he seems to be lacking at the moment.
"That, as well as pushing on with the car development, has to be a priority for [team principal] Mattia Binotto in the coming weeks. It won't be easy, but it is essential especially in terms of 2020."