Sebastian Vettel should not have been penalised for losing control at Spa-Francorchamps.

Sebastian Vettel should not have been penalised for losing control at Spa-Francorchamps.

That is the opinion of an unlikely supporter of the 23-year-old Red Bull driver: Marc Gene.

Spaniard Gene is Ferrari's occasional test driver, who said the drive-through penalty after Vettel crashed into Jenson Button on Sunday "was totally disproportionate".

"It is true that he was too aggressive, but for there to be a penalty ... he did nothing wrong, it was an incident of the race," Gene wrote in his El Mundo newspaper column.

Niki Lauda's is a harsher critique, predicting that one more mistake for the young German will end his 2010 title chances.

"You're an absolute super-talent but you've taken excessive risks," the former triple world champion wrote in Bild newspaper.

"One more mistake and your world championship will be over. Then you will have to drive for your teammate, which would be the ultimate penalty," said Lauda.

He thinks Vettel is struggling with the pressure.

"You're in the fastest car," Lauda said, addressing Vettel personally. "The pressure can be paralysing, because everyone expects you to be in front and everything else is a disappointment."

Lewis Hamilton, who according to British commentator Martin Brundle is driving better today than in his championship year in 2008, said Vettel's lack of experience is showing.

"The older I get, the more I understand about experience. Mark (Webber) is a very mature man and that definitely helps," said the McLaren driver.

David Coulthard advises his Red Bull successor Vettel to get used to the criticism, observing that "the knives seem to be out for him" now.

"I want to make it clear I am not trying to excuse Sebastian's recent high-profile errors," he wrote in the Telegraph.

"I see a young man who is suffering from his first spell of growing pains," added the veteran of almost 250 races.

"I am not excusing them (the mistakes) - as I have said before, F1 is no finishing school - I'm just saying they are understandable," said Coulthard.

Vettel penalty 'was disproportionate' - Marc Gene