Motorsport legend Derek Bell believes Sebastian Vettel will give Lewis Hamilton a run for his money in 2019.
Speaking exclusively to Overtake Motorsport, Bell told us that he believes the two are equal and that Vettel made mistakes in 2018 due to having to push beyond the limit.
“Vettel is still bloody close to being an equal of a Hamilton, it’s just that he got a lot of criticism last year” said Bell.
“We all said he made mistakes but the poor bastard was risking life and limb to keep up with the Mercedes and that is incredibly difficult when you have got a guy like Hamilton who is arguably the best out there and just has this flair and at the same time has the confidence”
Vettel will be partnered by young Charles Leclerc for this season and Ferrari Team Principal, Mattia Binotto has already suggested that the Monegasque driver may need to obey to team orders.
Bell, who made his Formula 1 debut for Ferrari in 1968, agrees with this stance and believes Vettel
should be the clear number one driver.
“They have got a new young driver who will be very interesting but in all reality I would be staggered if he goes off and wins race after race after race because Vettel won’t want that.” said Bell.
“He will want the major part of the act and if Leclerc is what he should be he will sit and look at it, or somebody should tell him he needs to get more experience”.
Bell also believes that Red Bull will be successful with their new engine partner, Honda. Honda had a dismal return to Formula 1 when they rejoined with McLaren, however, they made strong progress last year powering the Toro Rosso team.
“I think they (Honda) have risen up to the plate before and I would say these guys are not dumb at Red Bull” Bell said.
“Those guys know the way forward and know what they need and I think they would have had the choice of any engines they wanted and rightly or wrongly they have gone with Honda and I think they will do alright.”
“I think we will be surprised. I can’t believe they will got through a year of failures because Red Bull couldn’t take that any more.”
The 2019 Formula 1 season gets underway this weekend in Australia at Melbourne.