With Lewis Hamilton at the wheel, Ferrari would have won the 2018 world championship.
That is the view of Luca di Montezemolo, the former Ferrari president.
He told Rai radio that Hamilton fully deserved his fifth drivers’ title this year, secured at the wheel of his Mercedes.
“This year Hamilton made the difference in his best season since his debut,” Montezemolo said.
“He has had moments of weakness and crisis, but this year with Ferrari he would have won.
“I say that not to belittle Vettel, who has every opportunity to rebuild with a competitive car,” the Italian added.
Indeed, Montezemolo said losing the title was not all Sebastian Vettel’s fault.
“This Ferrari is a very different Ferrari to the one I left in October 2014, in terms of men and mentality,” he said.
“Ferrari did a good car this year, which in some situations was even better than Mercedes. But the final part was missing.
“Vettel made some decisive mistakes, but for the world championship you have to do everything to keep him up. He is a driver of the highest order and always close to the team,” said Montezemolo.
“In frustration he must be supported, even more so with the arrival of a very strong boy (Leclerc) with a great future.
“Schumacher also made mistakes in the first days, but it is always important to speak clearly in the locker room and support the team in public.”
More personally, 71-year-old Montezemolo ruled out ever returning to F1, declaring: “From zero to a hundred, the possibility is less than zero.”