Thursday, 26 January 2012

Sebastian Vettel: A true great?

Sebastian Vettel has won the last two world championships, but is he a true Formula One great?

The winner of the last two world championships, and twenty five pole positions of the last thirty eight, Sebastian Vettel is certainly the benchmark for everyone else in Formula One right now. Vettel is driving immensely and many think he is on the verge of dominating the sport in such a way that hasn't been seen since the days of Michael Schumacher. However, despite his championship victories, some still doubt he is a great talent.

Vettel led everyone in 2011
That couldn't be further from the truth. Sebastian Vettel is a world class driver and a brilliant talent. His sheer domination of races is mind blowing, and his qualifying speed is just breathtaking. When Vettel is at his best he is unstoppable, and his 2011 season was one of the greatest seasons there have ever been. His pace all weekend is excellent, but still some people don't seem to believe he is a "great." Well, a big part of my is beginning to think that Vettel is the best in the world. Yes, I did an article in November which stated that I thought Fernando Alonso was the best in the world, but I'm beginning to think Vettel is possibly there now. And that's probably the most impressive thing about Vettel's last two championships, and in particular the 2011 title: He's done it all while Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher are in the sport. He's blown away the competition, and the competition is of a very very high standard.

We saw Vettel's celebratory finger fifteen times in 2011
 People say that Vettel wins just because of the car, but he took pole in places where the Red Bull wasn't strongest, like in Canada, Belgium, Italy, Japan and Abu Dhabi. Then he won in Spain, Belgium and Italy, when the car clearly wasn't at his best. Like Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, this boy can do it in a poorer car as well: Remember his incredible first race win, back at a soaking Italian Grand Prix in 2008, for Toro Rosso? Another of Vettel's qualities is his sheer ability to bounce back from (the very occasional) errors, such as when he had crashes in Friday practice this year. They occured in Turkey, Canada, Japan and Abu Dhabi this year, and yet he took pole on all four of them, and was on the podium in three of them, with a win at Turkey, despite having a disadvantage due to losing track time. He responded to his last lap error of the Canadian Grand Prix brilliantly, by controlling the European Grand Prix two weeks later.

In short, yes, Sebastian Vettel is a great. A true great. I would certainly class him right now as one of the top twenty or so drivers to ever have competed in F1. And he's going to take a hell of a lot of stopping in 2012. The difference in the 2010 Vettel and the 2011 Vettel was great, and if he can get better, it could be a long season for the other twenty three drivers.

Over the next few weeks I will be looking at the six world champions on the grid, as well as three other drivers, in articles like this, as we prepare for the start of the season.


  1. Great opinion piece, Dan. I completely agree with you. Your writing is genuinely good and a pleasure to read as well.

  2. I would agree. Fantastic quality once again. Vettel is for sure a great and I can see him winning more championships, but the question mark on his career is his 'big' move to Ferrari that he dreams about. He cannot really do it while Alonso is there and he's not retiring anytime soon, so Vettel wants to be there in his peak not his later-a-bit-slower peak.

  3. Glad you both enjoyed the article. Vettel is class, end of discussion. As an Alonso fan I'd love to see how Vettel would do up against him in Ferrari, that would be intriguing.