Sebastian Vettel will take away valuable lessons from his disastrous Belgian Grand Prix clash with Jenson Button – and can still bounce back and win this year's World Championship.
That is the view of his Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner, who has jumped to the defense of his under-fire driver after the German caused an unnecessary accident when he lost control of his car while battling Button at Spa-Francorchamps.
Vettel's driving at Spa, on the back of other mistakes this season – including the costly one behind the safety car in Hungary – have cast fresh doubts about whether the young German is ready to put together a title campaign.
But Horner thinks Vettel can recover from his current difficulties, as long as he remains calm and sorts out in his own head why things are not happening for him right now.
"I think Sebastian, without a shadow of a doubt, is a very, very talented driver," said Horner after the Belgian GP. "Here was one of those races where it just did not go his way. He needs to stay calm and focused – and eventually it will come his way.
"It was difficult for him. You have to make split-second decisions and I think he made one mistake when he was racing Jenson. Jenson, braking where he did, just took him completely by surprise. In trying to avoid him, he got himself into a spin that ultimately collected Jenson in very, very difficult conditions. He is a great racing driver, he is still a very young guy and it is easy to be critical of somebody who is relatively inexperienced – but for sure he will learn a lot from what happened."
Horner thinks there is little he can do to try and help Vettel overcome his current problems – but reckons that the German is well aware himself that the situation has to be turned around.
"Nobody knows that better than Sebastian, he is a pretty mature individual," he said. "He analyzes his own performance very, very carefully and I am sure he will bounce back from this. It would be foolish to write him off at the moment."
Vettel's problems have handed teammate Mark Webber the initiative in the title standings – with him now 28 points ahead of the German. Horner conceded the Australian is in good shape to emerge as Red Bull's main hope for the crown, but reiterated it is too early to forget about Vettel's chances.
"Things can change so quickly," said Horner. "Mark has won more races than any other driver at the moment, he has produced some great drives and he is definitely in the form of his career. Based on the season to date, you would have to say that he looks in great shape, but as we saw here, things can change so quickly. It would be a foolish person to rule Sebastian out at the moment."