Gerhard Berger believes that Sebastian Vettel's recent struggles in Formula 1 are being caused by him not coping well with pressure.
Vettel had a difficult debut with Aston Martin at the Bahrain Grand Prix. The German qualified 18th before receiving a penalty which put him to the back of the grid, and was classified 15th in the race following another penalty for causing a collision with Esteban Ocon. Berger thinks that these issues are down to Vettel not being relaxed enough, something that he argues has been a pattern in the 33-year-old's career.
"Sebastian is a four-time world champion so he's one of the outstanding drivers, no question," Berger told the In The Fast Lane podcast. "But he never reacted well under pressure. Remember when Daniel [Ricciardo] came to Red Bull [he] was very strong and he put pressure on Sebastian. For Sebastian it was difficult to cope with it. In Ferrari it was the same thing.
"I just feel when you watch him, you feel he's not free. He's not relaxed enough. He's trying to prove things that, at this moment, aren't possible because the car isn't good enough or his own form isn't good enough.
"When you're in this situation you need to sit down, take a step back and say 'well, take it easy and the success is going to come again'."
Berger questions whether Vettel has the same motivation that he once did, having won four consecutive world titles with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013.
"In saying that he's at the end of his career too," the Austrian said. "When you've done so many races, when you're already a four-time world champion, then comes a point when maybe you're not in a situation where you want to take all the risks, where you fight like you would fight before you won any races.
"In some way it just doesn't work out well for him. He starts to make mistakes and people start to question him. That's just step-by-step more pressure, and, as I said at the beginning, he doesn't like pressure."