Ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle says Lewis Hamilton would not have made the mistakes that threaten to deny Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari title glory in 2018. Vettel's latest mishap came on Scuderia home turf as a first-lap collision on lap one of the Italian Grand Prix allowed Hamilton to open up a 30-point lead in the drivers' championship.
Vettel could not get past pole-sitting team-mate Kimi Raikkonen off the line at Monza and then made a clumsy defence of P2 from Hamilton, who went on to pip Raikkonen to the chequered flag with an assist from Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes' strategy.
Ferrari are widely accepted to have the quicker car than Mercedes but Vettel has made several mistakes, his latest spurning any momentum gained by victory in Belgium a week prior.
Brundle wrote for Sky Sports: "I lauded Sebastian's driving and race-craft in Spa. It's different this time because in the race's most important moments he got it wrong.
"Approaching the second chicane on the first lap the No 5 Ferrari was moving all over the track and, choosing the inside then mid line with his tyres dirty as a result, Lewis Hamilton didn't need a second invitation down and around the outside of the 90 degree turn with a risky but audacious move.
"After the race, Vettel spoke about trying to take the lead ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, but he never looked anywhere near close enough to try that.
"Ferrari threw it away on Saturday in reality. They could have so easily slipstreamed Vettel on to pole using Raikkonen's wake, and then with formation flying on lap one.
"Mercedes made it very clear as long ago as Germany that they were playing the team game when they ordered Valtteri Bottas not to challenge Lewis for the win. Given their history of such tactics, ironically Ferrari haven't responded.
"Vettel's "we talk later" radio message immediately after qualy suggests to me that he is mind-managing much better this year but probably still attacked those first two chicanes carrying frustrations.
"Ferrari's problem is that Vettel is making too many mistakes too. Since the red-mist descended in Baku last season, Seb has crashed out at the start in Singapore, hit Bottas in France, been penalised in Austria for blocking Carlos Sainz in qualifying and thrown away victory in Germany. And now this.
"The contrast is that we very rarely see mistakes from Lewis and he was faultless again this weekend. He won the race with a display of smart thinking and precision driving. He managed his tyres as required and played the long game as he waited for precisely the right moment to attack."