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Vettel will be even stronger in 2011, says Hill

Fraser Masefield
December 7, 2010 « Ferrari confirms Badoer exit | »

Sebastian Vettel will be an even bigger force to contend with now he has the luxury of a first drivers' title under his belt.

That is the view of BRDC President Damon Hill, who believes the German will be able to relax more next season with less pressure on him.

"I think Vettel is very strong," said Hill at the annual BRDC awards. "He's been right at the front now for a couple of seasons and this world championship frees him up and I think he'll be able to relax a little bit, not too much, and enjoy himself. And when a driver is enjoying himself he is more of a threat I think, so the pressure's a little bit off. He's so young and I think he's going to have many championships before he retires."

Although Hill thinks Vettel will start as favourite for the 2011 title, he is not discounting the challenge of McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

"McLaren are always a team that are able to produce an advantage or get on top of technical issues very quickly and I'm sure they will be surprising us with some new inventions for next season as well. We had the F-Duct this year and I'm sure the boffins will be there thinking up all sorts of other tweaks that will put McLaren back at the front. I'm sure they won't be resting over the winter.

"Jenson has his own approach to racing and I think that it showed he was always in there with a chance right through to the end and I think that he's a strong driver. For his first season in a new team I think he's laid his foundation down very well and I think he's well respected within the team and I think that he can build on that. I think he will always be a contender."

As for his old adversary Michael Schumacher, Hill somewhat surprisingly does not think he made a mistake in coming back and that he could even win races in 2011.

"I don't think he disgraced himself at all. He showed that it's hard to come back. I think it's hard also to maintain pace as you get older and he'll have had things to think about I'm sure but he never gives up, that's what defines him. I'm sure he just sees this as another challenge and he's going to prove us all wrong and win some races next year."