Vettel’s defending this year has been top notch. I was particularly impressed at China, when he pretty much stopped his car at the apex of the hairpin to stop Hamilton cutting back. That’s the sort of thing you often see in bike racing but not in F1.
At Barcelona Hamilton may not have made many attempts to pass, but good defending isn’t always about stopping the other drivers attacks – it’s about preventing those attacks from happening in the first place, which Vettel did brilliantly with clever use of his KERS and the way he drove the lap.
Monaco was also impressive for what David A said, and also because he did so on old tyres after the pit crew made a mistake. That’s the sort of maturity that you don’t see very often – maybe once or twice with Alonso, and with Schumacher in his heyday.
Yes, he made a mistake under pressure at Montreal, but that was a whole different kind of pressure to that he faced at Barcelona. Having someone gradually catch you at a few tenths a lap on a track where overtaking was harder is a whole different kettle of fish to having someone reel you in at a couple of seconds a lap on a track where overtaking is relatively simple. Vettel will have known about Buttons pace and the situation, and with the difficult conditions a mistake wasn’t exactly surprising. In fact, look at from another angle – he only made a slight mistake – another corner could have ended in the wall, retirement and zero points, rather than the 18 he did get.
I don’t think you can really count being passed by Rosberg as an example of bad defending, given the worry over the tyres. Seb was likely taking it somewhat easy, and the Mercedes had epic straight line speed all weekend. It wasn’t as if Vettel took an age to get back past him either, was it?