As exciting as Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel continues the German domination of Formula 1
It takes a special kind of driver to turn the normally exciting and thrilling sport of Formula One into a glorified procession. That is exactly what Sebastian Vettel is currently doing at Red Bull.
Not since the great Michael Schumacher has one driver completely dominated multiple seasons with such ease and composure as Vettel. And it’s not as if this field of drivers is full of unproven rookies taking their first steps with a big team. There are four past World Champions still driving this season and in Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, two drivers who many claim to be some of the greatest of all time. Couple them with Jenson Button and the still competitive Kimi Raikkonen and this should be one of the most competitive eras in Formula One ever. Vettel though in tandem with the magnificent Red Bull car, seems to be on another level to all of them.
Ever since he began his career with Toro Rosso, Vettel seemed destined to become a future World Champion. His unexpected victory in the Italian Grand Prix in 2008 at just 21 years old – the youngest man ever to win a race – meant he was fast tracked to the big boys at Red Bull. What we didn’t know was just how brilliantly efficient Vettel would become.
Although he narrowly lost out to Button’s beast of Brawn in 2009, Vettel has been the dominant force in the 2010’s so far. The following year he became the youngest man to win the Drivers’ Championship at just 23, beating Hamilton by 68 days.
Come 2011, Vettel embarked on one of the most dominant seasons in F1 history. He amassed the highest number of points in a season by a driver, the most podiums finishes and the most starts from the front of the grid. Only Schumacher has won a higher percentage of races in a season than Vettel did in 2011.
2013 seems to be going the same way for Vettel who at the time of writing is 60 points ahead of his nearest rival. Winning over half of the races with just six to go, it seems almost certain that Vettel will be crowned Drivers’ Champion for a remarkable fourth straight year. Once again, only Schumacher has won more consecutive titles than Vettel.
The comparisons with Schumacher are both inevitable and justified as their careers have almost mirrored each other to eerie proportions. Both came from humble beginnings – their fathers were bricklayers and carpenters respectively. Both had their first competitive racing experience at the same track near the Nurburgring. Both have complete concentration while driving and both are terrifyingly consistent on the track.
The only difference between the pair it seems is that Vettel is more successful than his idol. At the same age, Vettel has twice the number of Drivers’ Championships as the legendary German and still has almost seven years at the top level ahead of him. Couple that to the almost perfect marriage he has with the Red Bull car and you can’t think of a major reason why Vettel can’t dominate the sport for the rest of the decade.
He might not excite people like Senna and Hamilton but he has become much more successful. Say it quietly; are we in the presence of the greatest racing driver in history?