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Stats, speed and success spur on Vettel

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Andrew Benson | 13:57 UK time, Wednesday, 19 October 2011

It is an open secret in Formula 1 that Sebastian Vettel, who became the youngest double world champion in history this year, is motivated at least partly by statistics.

The Red Bull driver himself, though, has been a little shy about admitting it so far - but on Wednesday he went as far as he ever has towards acknowledging that, yes, he would not mind having a crack at the all-time records.

Until Vettel's remarkable run of success, particularly this year, Michael Schumacher's landmarks of seven titles, 91 wins and 68 pole positions looked unbeatable.

But Vettel, at the age of 24, already has 20 victories and 27 poles, as well as those two titles. Suddenly, Schumacher's records don't look quite so impregnable after all.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel on his 2011: "Seasons like this don't happen too often... we want to enjoy it." Photo: Getty

"I like statistics," Vettel said, "as in I care about the sport, I know the sport, I know ex-F1 drivers, the big names, and know a little bit the numbers according to the drivers.

"The only thing I like from time to time is to see if my name is somewhere there. I don't really set myself a target of wins and poles, I am not racing for statistics, so I know some numbers, but not all. I love Formula 1, I always did as a small kid and that hasn't changed."

A little later, the mask seemed to slip a little further when someone asked him who was the youngest three-time world champion.

"I don't know," Vettel replied. "Michael is the youngest seven-time world champion."

So that's the ambition?

"That is a long, long way to go," Vettel said. "Obviously we have had two phenomenal seasons and sometimes then you get over-excited and start to talk about those things.

"But really we know how much it takes to win a race, and a whole championship. That really puts things in perspective. It's a long, long way. I don't think you can set the target to say I want to win seven world titles. What Michael achieved in many ways was outstanding."

Vettel was talking at Red Bull Racing's Milton Keynes headquarters, where a news conference on Wednesday morning preceded a private team party in the afternoon.

Vettel - and Red Bull - have every reason to celebrate, after putting together one of the most extraordinary seasons in F1 history.

With 16 races down and three still to go, Vettel has won 10 races, taken 13 pole positions, finished on the podium in every race but one (when he was fourth) and tied up the title in Japan 10 days ago with four races to spare.

But he admitted that it took the most mundane of things for the fact that he was a double world champion to finally sink in properly.

He arrived home in Switzerland on Monday from the Korean Grand Prix to find that his heating had broken. "It was quite cold, so I put the fire on," he said, laughing. "I won't go into details."

Regardless, he said, "I really enjoyed the moment of opening the door, going into the house, knowing what we have achieved. It's those small things that really make you realise what has happened.

"I really like it when nothing is happening, to enjoy the peace, to enjoy time. I didn't do anything special on Monday - just surfing the internet, sleeping, just enjoy the peace and no stress. That's when things really start to sink in.

"It's a nice feeling, because you know all the hours you have spent in the gym, on the race track, it paid off."

Vettel was in a sunny mood on Wednesday - as he so often is. But there was no mistaking the underlying steeliness that is part of what makes him such a formidable competitor.

Anyone who thought his ambition might have been dulled by such towering success so young will need to recalibrate their expectations.

Can you be as dominant next season, he was asked.

"We try," he said. "You never want to come back and do worse than you have done. We set the benchmark very high, and it has been a special season for both sides.

"I had a very good run and the team had a phenomenal run, reliability was great - we've had no technical failures so far. We'll see. We are working hard and we are extremely motivated."

Sebastian Vettel celebrates in front of photographers in Korea

Sebastian Vettel "drove perfectly" all season, according to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. Photo: Getty

None of their rivals at McLaren and Ferrari are under any illusions that Vettel and Red Bull will be anything other than formidably tough to beat next year.

After a 2010 season in which, as Vettel has admitted himself, a series of mistakes made winning his first world title much more difficult than it should have been, he and the team have moved on to another level.

He did make mistakes this year. One thinks of the half-spin on the last lap in Canada that handed victory to a charging Jenson Button. Or another spin when trying to stay in touch with the leaders in Germany, his least competitive race of the season. Or his couple of crashes in Friday practice sessions.

But none of them badly affected him, and overall he "drove perfectly", as Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the previous youngest double champion, described it.

Vettel looked at the new form F1 took on this season with deliberately high-wear Pirelli tyres and the DRS overtaking aid, realised what was needed to succeed in races, and ruthlessly used the best car on the grid to crush his rivals.

Race after race, he took pole, used the car's inherent pace advantage to build the lead he needed to protect himself at the first pit stops while taking only what he needed to out of the tyres, and held the cushion for the rest of the race.

This strategy formed the bedrock of his season, and generally worked even on the few occasions when the Red Bull was not the fastest car in the race.

His driving was matched by a team that, operationally as well as in terms of the performance of its car, was in a league of its own.

"After every race, I get a print out of the race results, the championship standings and everything and the first thing I do is rip the championship standings off, because the only thing that matters is what we did on that day," Vettel said.

"If you get beaten, you have to accept it. You shouldn't like it, because then you would be in the wrong sport, but there are other very smart people and other very good drivers, and you never get beaten for no reason.

"This year some of the racing has been close, but if there was a chance to open a gap and benefit from it for the rest of the race we were always in a very strong position and many times used that to go for that.

"But I don't think it's fair to say we had a massive advantage all year long. Seasons like this don't happen too often and that's why we want to enjoy it.

"I am extremely proud and to see my name alongside some of the great names is really special. As much as the first world title, the second one people can't take away from you. Many things in life come and go but this will stay forever."


  • Comment number 1.

    i dont care what anyone says,but if hamilton or alonso was that redbull they would wipe the floor with,he is quick in clean air but very jittery in traffic,the move he made on alonso in italy was good but if that was hamilton,lets put it this way he wasnt going to get through,mark webber for a team mate is skewing things a bit i think,webber was never one the drivers who was tipped to be a big hit,the fastest car for the past 2 and half season and vs vettel it is well a humilating record,hamilton defended against him with a massive chunk of downforce gone for over 25 laps(apparently rubber from the track got wedged in his front wing this was the reason vettel got him so easily)

    congrats for the championships but mclaren need to pull their finger out ,as well as ferrari

  • Comment number 2.

    obviously a very good driver. but i feel it will be harder for him next season as the rules will be the same next year which will probably mean mclaren and ferrari will be more competitive, and that i think mark webber will be closer to him

    no to sky

  • Comment number 3.

    Not overly interested in what's happening in 2012 as I won't now be watching it or half of it anyway.

  • Comment number 4.

    We all have to admire this guy; he really is a credit to his team, to himself and family. Who's to say he can't beat his compatriot's record, he's young and ambitious and determined to win.

    "Ambition is made of sterner stuff" I believe the Bard said that somewhere, and Vettel is certainly showing us he's made of sterner stuff - and with ambition galore, he should realise his dream before hanging up his driving helmets.

  • Comment number 5.

    Fully expecting a closer title race next season, but only a fool would write off Vettel doing it again. The very fact that his mistakes are highlighted shows how little he makes all year - practice is just that and he uses those sessions perfectly.

    People seem to overlook how intelligent Vettel is and how important that factor is in F1 - it's a vital component of the overall team package. People banging on about the car's superiority frequently make arguments of the most simplistic variety - but the gaps in qualifying have not been that big and other teams have had good race pace all year.

    Take a step back and acknowledge one of the sport's greats. Good blog Andrew.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'd love to watch him try to break these records but I will only be able to watch half of the races. Whats the point?

  • Comment number 7.

    Never really considered it before but Schumacher has far more wins than he has poles and I'm sure it's the same for most of the other drivers on the grid with a few wins to their name.
    Vettel has more poles than wins which I think backs up this view that he can't mix it with other cars in traffic as wins are rare when he's not on pole (normally due to other drivers misfortune).

  • Comment number 8.

    Interesting comments from SB that tell us a little more about his character. Little point in us thinking about his future driving achievements though, when thanks to the BBC deal with SKY, the licence fee payers are to be prevented from seeing enjoying them in any case!

    Instead of a raft of features on what has happened in past races it would be good to hear now what the BBC is now proposing to do to get out of the SKY mess they have themselves created.

  • Comment number 9.

    L_Mazzini - Interesting point regarding number of poles versus race wins... however there was a guy called Ayrton Senna with 65 poles and only 41 wins so perhaps that's not a very accurate indicator afterall.

  • Comment number 10.

    Well done to a friendly, talented and supremely fast young man. Despite beating the Brits for most of the season, and running Jenson off the road in Japan, I still like him. Therefore he's already beating Schumacher in my book.

    I look forward to reading about many of his continued successes next year... because I won't be paying Murdoch to watch them.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think Vettel is nice guy and very good driver.There is BUT, last year both drivers were almost identical in thier speed and qualifying, But this year it seem vettle got the upper hand,why?, is it because of the new tyres or there is something fishy about it. One thing I know is that if your team wants to lose you lose, if the team wants one driver to get the upper hand all the time, they can fix that. Also the proof is in the pudding; Button all of sudden is beating hammi, some one who is not even in the same league as top drivers. Take my word for it the remaining grand prixs, button will prevail, they even made special chasse for him to beat hammi, while hammi progress was stagnant. SHAME ON MCLAREN FOR NOT BEING FAIR TO BOTH DRIVERS.

  • Comment number 12.

    Gotta hand it to him, he certainly deserves it, and along with Jenson Button and Mark Webber, he's one of the most likeable guys on the grid. Well done Seb, keep winning, keep smiling.

    Yes to Sky. I love the BBC coverage, but they don't have it all next year - it's a done deal. Another sport bites the dust on BBC. Soon it'll just be the boat race left!

    So, bring on the Sky, lets' hope it's even better.

  • Comment number 13.

    Senna had more poles than wins in his career and no one questions his ability.Seems to me most people who say Vettel can't race just don't like the guy and whatever he does is wrong. He is a fabulous driver nice guy and a breath of fresh air in F1. Personally I hope he achieves all his ambitions and there is no reason to think he won't,long live the Vettel finger

  • Comment number 14.

    I know Senna had more Pole positions than wins, but in a time with such high reliability I really think Vettel should convert more of his Pole positions into wins, that would be the true mark of a racing driver. In my opinion.

  • Comment number 15.

    #11 dobbio

    Dobbio, I do not think you have a true understanding of this sport. Whilst I'm not a particular fan of any driver, I've been following F1 for 30 years, have been to more races than I can remember (some with Pit Lane access) and have raced karts and done a bit of tin tops. Now, in my humble opinion, Button is true class. He was the man to beat in karts, was outstanding in FF & showed true pace in his debut year in F3. A fantastic debut F1 test (I believe this was in a Ligier) showed he had real potential which led to further winter tests with Williams and a race seat. His race pace and delicacy is second to none. He is truly rated by his peers.... even Hammilton. Qualifying pace is not the be all and end all. Prost & Lauda will testify to that (who both won championships when being out qualified by a team mate).

  • Comment number 16.

    Senna had more poles than wins, sure, but he drove in an era where reliability was far more flaky... who knows what he'd have achieved with 100% reliability?

    Vettel is currently capitalising on the fact that he and the Red Bull are the best package in F1 this season. Try as I might I can't bring myself to dislike him either, so he's also one up on much of the F1 field.

  • Comment number 17.


    But they aren't, and they didn't. Twice. So it's all irrelevant really. Are you saying that Alonso was easy to overtake? I hope not. I also think to say Mark Webber has been humiliated may be excessive. Last season he was the main contender, Vettel coming through late in the day in relation to the season to clinch the title. This season Vettel has clearly understood and dealt with the tyres better it's true but is this not more a pointer to his class as a potential great? He saw what was needed and he adjusted. I think this is an example of someone knowing what he is good at and being very good indeed at that, the same as his ability to extract a pole-lap from his car. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses eg Button being good with his tyre management/smooth style, Hamilton raw pace, Schumacher(pre-retirement) relentless testing etc etc. Prost and Senna were both very different yet both have their own followers.

    Maybe we should just feel honoured to be witnessing the dawn of 'possibly' another historical legend(or myth as some may prefer). As mentioned already, he's a credit to the sport, he's a credit to his family, he's interesting to watch on and off track and only time will tell how we'll remember him. It certainly won't be as a rogue that's for sure.

    I'm a McLaren fan, I want my team to be the best and I want them to beat Vettel, Alonso... everyone else, but it doesn't stop me applauding Vettel, admiring and perhaps more importantly, respecting his ability and successes, as well as RBR the team. The symbiosis between driver and team there at present is impressive so congratulations to them all for their achievements again this season. You don't get what you don't deserve in top-class competition no matter what the sport. So, I look forward to good, strong, gentlemanly competition next season(Monisha at Sauber excepted of course). And when the points are all tallied up, whoever wins it all, deserves it. Because they were the best that season.

    That is all.

  • Comment number 18.

    Youngest triple world champion: One A. Senna, aged 31. Methinks that record may be broken...

  • Comment number 19.

    Why do your blogs disappear when they get to page 2 then reappear when they have been closed to comments ?
    what are you and the BBC trying to cover up

    No to Sky

  • Comment number 20.

    Good evening, Please try and settle this query myself and my girlf friend were having. In formula one you here the terms travelling in dirty or turbulent air, Which is behind the car in front. Which is a negative thing. Yes? but how is getting a tow or in the slipstream which is also behind the car in front become a positive thing and an advantage, Where is the crossover point from the negative to the positive and beneficial.

  • Comment number 21.

    #20 dirty air is bad but following on a straight to pass is good. The car following loses aero grip when following so the tyres need to work harder and the hot air causes problems for the cars cooling. On the whole it is bad but it is also helpful for a short time, hope this short explanation helps..

    Re Seb and 2012 I just hope that RBR remain at or close to the top but don't have the dominance that they have had this year.

    No to Sky but I suppose we have no chance now....

  • Comment number 22.

    @20, evening, it's a negative thing when you want clean airflow and max downforce on your car to stick it to the road when going round corners, positive if you slipstream on the straights as the hole in the air fron the car infront allows you greater top speed when pulling out of the slipstream.

    Just like the BBC, it's a positive thing to improve the quality of the F1 coverage, boost audience figures, win Baftas and get a glowing report on value for cost from the BBC Trust. It's a negative thing, take note Babs, to go from Formula 1 coverage to Formula Half coverage forcing people to pay £600 extra per year to get a poor version of what they had before...

    Yes to F1, no to F0.5, yes to the BBC F1 forum, yes to RTL with 5Live.

  • Comment number 23.

    Reports from those inside the paddock are that behind the scenes vettel is demanding, obstinate and ill tetmpered. I don't buy into the "nice guy" protrayal the media laud upon him. His on-camera smiley demenour is very contrived. His gesturing at other drivers (mark webber) and officials (when serving a drive through penalty) is the real sebastian vettel. In a way I'm glad the media have built him up as "holier than thou" because the fall out when he doesn't have the best car and starts getting beat by hamilton and co. consistently is going to be a joy to watch.

  • Comment number 24.

    Seb is a worthy double world champion, and i think that if we saw the likes of Lewis in a Red Bull dominant car we would not see as many wins, but when we did we would all know about it, Lewis this Lewis that.... Lewis has crashed out so many times when he's had a dominant car, and his attitude honestly stinks at times, back in 07 a new fresh exuberant young man walked into the Mclaren garage and bossed the current back to back world champion (Alonso) we dont see anywhere near as much cool from him now and his arrogance has simply become an irritant, he needs to look over the garage for some advice on racing and overtaking, Jenson has shown the field how to slam it up the inside this season, and i can only really think of a few times where we have seen lewis out-brake or simply undo opponents, but hat's off, it's impressive when he does! Seb is clever and keeps the car on the road and gets the points he can, he is a supreme racer when it comes to it and defends with grace and knows when he is beaten, prime examples are Barcelona, and China respectivley against Lewis. As for attacking, i was there in Monza this year and the Tifosi went crazy as Alonso passed him and he was made to look like a schoolboy when Vettel was simply gobsmacking in the way he attacked he somehow create's a new apex for his car, he will win again and again, and rightfully so, a great guy off the track and providing Mclaren can produce the car next year Jenson and Lewis will fight him until the end and maybe have to drive him off the road!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    people dont get it, its not man against man, its man+car against man+car, if it was nadal vs murray that is fair and square nadal has much more ability but veteel+car which is faster than others against alosno+ bad car oviously vettel would win its common sense when lewis won he had a equal ferrari chasing him down RBR is killing f1 or shall i say newey is.

  • Comment number 26.

    Well said 17........I am a mclaren fan and had wished that they had been as efficient as redbull if they had then maybe the title would still be contested, but with a team so close nit and outstanding with there reliability you have to applaud them.
    I do think he is a remarkable young man with amazing concentration and vision but all of the team as CH said at the weekend have set a standard not seen by any other team in the pit lane this year. Vettel is a likable lad and I did like enjoy the edition of top gear that he appeared on the only thing I do not like is the 1 finger celebrations .......amazing that thats his only negative on me shows what a good racer/bloke he really is so praise where praise is due.

    Mclaren pull your finger out for 2012 and stop us from moaning. :)

    Bye BBC and F1crew thanks for no answers to all the questions that have been posted I need to buy a radio for next season how I begrudge paying for my license :(

  • Comment number 27.

    Trust me he is not a patch on Fangio. My father took me to see the great man race and it was an experience. Risk taking, skill, bravery, Fangio had it all. This Vettel chap would not have lasted one race in the 30s.

  • Comment number 28.

    Not sure why this blog is bothering to look to next year, we know F1 in the UK is going to crash and burn even if the BBC manages to massage its viewing figures.

    F1 sponsors don't care, CEOs are spending the companies' money so they can have a nice VIP pampering at their expense whilst trotting out the excuse of "marketing" their "brand".

    And of course the journalists, they're not going to lose out as a result of this deal, they'll still see all the races and as ever you won't find a single F1 journalist ever criticise Bernie Ecclestone or FOM.

    For me F1 is already over. Thanks BBC for destroying F1 in Great Britain and putting your own interests first. Channel 4 wanted F1 but you ran to Sky just so you could claim that "F1 is on the BBC" as if the majority of fans really care about F1 being on the BBC.

  • Comment number 29.

    Many great drivers have more poles than wins, Mansell, Hakkinen, Hamilton to name a few, If Vettel wins from pole its too easy because he has the best car if he fails to win from pole he should have done because he has the best car when he does overtake its never good enough or often enough when he has fought through the field its never recognised yet his few mistakes are jumped on with glee. Maybe it cos he aint British!! If Hamilton was doing what Vettel is now he would be the greatest thing since sliced bread, I understand British bias being British myself but can also give credit where credit is due and Vettel certainly deserves all his success.

  • Comment number 30.

    Are you serious Mr Benson? Vettel has got a good car and two good season under his belt and you immediately think schumacher's record is beatable? What a joke mate! Lets look at Lewis Hamilton's 2007 and 2008 season. How many race wins, poles and podiums did he achieve in those two years and how many after those two years? Same for Alonso. You cannot just compare vettel stats with MS just after couple of good seasons. Yes, Vettel is young and he still has got many years in F1 but have we seen vettel having poor 2 or 3 seasons in a row? What's he like then? MS came back from retirement and he had two rubbish seasons and he is still determined as ever and still want to win. MS has been taking so many rubbish stuff thrown at him but he is still continuing with it. To beat MS record, vettel has to have that kind of attitude. Have we seen that kind of attitude and character from vettel? At the moment we don't know what he is capable of. What we have seen from vettel is similar to LH achieved in his first two season. That's it! Actually LH achieved more then what vettel has achieved. He had two time world champion as team mate and didn't have any F1 experience. Another rubbish article Mr. Benson.

  • Comment number 31.

    Vettel is completely excellent.

    He's had it easy, but he's delivered. The Canada slip up apart, which was brilliant, he's not made mistakes he easily could have done. Having the fastest and most reliable car does help, admittedly, but there are no guarantees in F1: some of the races are utterly unpredictable.

  • Comment number 32.

    i still prefer lewis and jenson, i have respect for them as their not brats

  • Comment number 33.

    Great Blog, Andrew.

    I think Vettel's a god driver, but not up there with Lewis or Fernando.

    More importantly, I think it is an absolute disgrace that the British Broadcasting Corporation is selling my (and many other people's) right to watch F1 without having to pay into the Murdoch empire. If costs need to be cut then why don't you scrap dreadful channells like BBC Three?

    Congratulations on making sure that F1's popularity will plummet as a result of this deal.


  • Comment number 34.

    Vettle must rank up htere with the best - at the moment in any case. Last year's championship was in part due to Ferrari's poor strategy but this year he has really matured as a driver. If he keeps driving as well as he currently is who knows what he might achieve; however, in most cases drivers have 2 or 3 good years and then fade - time will tell if that happens to Vettle.

  • Comment number 35.

    @ 27...stevieeng34

    ...."this Vettel chap would not have lasted one race in the 30s"....

    Turn that round if you will,.... I believe drivers in the 30s would be hard-pushed to qualify in today's F1 cars.

    I bet if Vettel had been an English boy you would be praising him to the high heavens for what he has achieved so far in his short racing career in F1.

    Judging by the pictures of the racing cars of the 30s, they could be mistaken for children's paddle cars.

  • Comment number 36.

    Vettel, top driver clearly the best around at present, & seems like a good bloke too.

    @ 11. dobbio "Also the proof is in the pudding; Button all of sudden is beating hammi, some one who is not even in the same league as top drivers. SHAME ON MCLAREN FOR NOT BEING FAIR TO BOTH DRIVERS."

    Reading some of these posts is like reading something out of the X-files. Call Mulder & Scully!

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm a Mclaren fan. However you can't say Vettel does not seem like a nice guy.
    Mclaren had better be working on a competitive car, they really let themselves and their fans down this season and Martin Whitmarsh is really getting on my nerves. I used to really like him. Good looking guy for his age and all that. But now, can't really stand him.

  • Comment number 38.

    27. Totally agree that Fangio had immense talent in the cars of that era (5 world tiltles no less, with at least 4 different manufacturers) however (unless it was a typo or you are in your 80's-90's)... I'm pretty certain he won all those titles in the 1950's and not the 1930's. Absolutely amazing that you witnessed the great man himself though!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    No to sky, shame on the BBC.

  • Comment number 40.

    It would be a mistake for Vettel to think too much about stats as they NEVER tell the full story. Michael Schumacher is statistically the most successful racing driver ever BUT it is Senna who is revered and has movies made about him.

  • Comment number 41.

    Seb is not a one day wonder. The year JB won his Championship at Brawn,(2009) who was runner up? I'll save your brain cells- it was Seb during his first year at Red Bull with MW fourth and LH in a dog of a Mclaren in 5th overall.
    As someone else said if Seb were British, he would be the second coming- or words to that effect. Give the lad some credit. He has won as many races so far this year as Gehard Berger did in a whole career and he was certainly no slouch!

  • Comment number 42.

    "if Seb were British, he would be the second coming"
    No. If he was British he would be put up on a pedestal only to be knocked back off it. His finger would become the symbol of British arrogance as opposed to German efficiency. Thats what we Brits do best to overly confident winners whilst losers go on to panto and become 'national treasures'.

  • Comment number 43.

    Beating records reminds me of another champion from another form of GP racing. Mick Doohan (5 times World Champion on 500 Grand prix Bikes). He said once that he was not interested in records, as someone will come along one day & break it. How true that would be.

    He was chasing down Agostini’s record of race wins & it looked like he might get it. However, he had a big crash & never returned to racing. He ended up with 54 wins compared to Agostini’s 68 wins.

    So what happened after that? A rider called Valentino Rossi comes along & wins 79 races (current tally).

    Two records that will probably never be broken however. Jack Brahbam (only driver to win a championship in a car of his own manufacture). John Surtees (only person to win world championship in both F1 & Grand prix bikes).

  • Comment number 44.

    I do admit Vettel is a good driver but it is just too hard to judge when the car they have is just so much better than the rest. I don' really care for Alonso, but I think he is a better driver. I really hope it's closer next year because having one team winning all the time is a big turn off. I hated when Ferrari, Mclaren or back in the day of Williams kept winning, it's boring, it needs to be closer. Who wants to see Man U winning every season? other than the true suporters from London ;)

    As for these people now saying 'yes to sky' and 'oh, it's done now' you are exactly what sky loves. Caving in and signing up....whats wrong with people in the country? Moan moan moan then fall into line. The only way sky and the BBC will get it is to not subsribe (you don't need 200+ channels as much as you think) and keep on letting the BBC know that they have messed up. Think of the utter rubbish going to be on when F1 isn't. Come on people, grow some!!

  • Comment number 45.

    Not a Vettel fan but he has done a fantastic job this year. Ok he has the best car but he still has to do those amazing qualifying laps and do the job on a Sunday.

    As for his racing, he's a young guy and learning. He made alot of silly mistakes the year before but this year he has overtaken when he has needed to. I'm sure he'll just get better and better.

    Here's hoping to some good battles in the years to come with the other drivers.

    Oh that's right........we won't see to SKY

  • Comment number 46.

    In Germany Sky show every F1 GP with bells and whistles (SkyBet). The free to air channel RTL also show every GP Live.

    I wonder how Vettel would react if his fellow countrymen were subjected to the disgraceful deal the BBC have done with Sky, and lost half a live season? I wonder if he would speak out in support.

    No to Sky.

  • Comment number 47.

    I think it's far too early to start talking about breaking Schumacher's records. Yes, Vettel is a special talent and has time on his side. While I do rate him as one of the very best (on current form, THE best), there will be years where he will have to adjust to not-so-good cars (like this year's Ferrari). But as a driver who performed miracles in a Toro Rosso, I have no doubts that he would do well. But still I guess it's better to wait for at least another 2,3 years before talking about breaking the 'impossible' records.

    On a side note, Mr Benson, I really enjoy your blogs. But I think sometimes you get carried away a wee bit too easily. For example, you pretty much agreed when people complained about Vettel's "inability" to overtake. Then after a few races, when Vettel completed some overtakes (the one on Alonso at Monza was pure class I must say) you completely dismissed the idea considering it as a myth. My personal opinion (which actually may not be relevant here) is that Vettel's race-craft is right up there with the best but to judge if his overtaking skills are as good as his others, we will have to wait a bit more.

    PS: Congrats to RedBull Racing Team who were miles ahead of others. Well deserved constructor's champions. But hope others will up their game soon.

  • Comment number 48.

    Vettel is a young professional still learning his trade. He has more than enough time to improve, this is the frightening thing about him. Also if RBRcan continue to work with him in development of their car and Renault continues to supply realiable engines and gear boxes, this team will be the one to beat. Hopefully Vettel will not get distracted into the celebrity lifestyle like a LH, but just concentrate more on his sport like a MS.
    That said, LH, FA, JB and the rest have to work closer with their teams to not just develope competitive cars, but more of a trust relationship, and rather than bicker in public when the car or strategy fails, the details are resolve behind closed doors. IMO this the difference between Vettel winning so much and the rest not including his teammate MW

  • Comment number 49.

    I think it's safe to say the Red Bull is the class of the field so we won't know Vettel's true ability until (hopefully) next season when the other teams' development catches up. That said Vettel did win impressively in a Toro Rosso...

    Completely off topic, what's the latest regarding Robert Kubica? It's all gone very quiet. Would be a great loss if he never returns to F1.

  • Comment number 50.

    Left half or right half? Im just deciding which half of Vettel's car I would like to see next year, because as far as the BBC are concerned, thats all we're allowed.

    Yes to RTL and 5Live, but I shouldn't have to really.

  • Comment number 51.

    Ross Brawn and others have made some interesting comments about RB. Lets see how that plays out. Whitmarsh and the RB "flappy front wings". Where else are they exploiting the rules (cheating)? Who knows? Who cares?

    Not looking forward to extra DIY on Sunday afternoons...

  • Comment number 52.

    @46.HCumber wrote:

    In Germany Sky show every F1 GP with bells and whistles.

    Not any more, Sky Germany have cut the 3 interactive streams due to low viewing figures, and may even be dropping F1 in 2012 if they can't renegotiate a lower fee.

    In the 5 major European markets the 'extra' F1 channels/coverage is watched by an average 2.7% of those that watch the race. Probably why Sky Germany have cut it, and why Sky UK probably will cut it after a year or two. They will throw everything at it in year one to try and drive subscriptions, but unless the UK market is different from all the rest, it won't be cost effective.

  • Comment number 53.

    sky dropped f1 after 1 year last time they had it
    i think they only got around 25k viewers

  • Comment number 54.

    Today I received an update form the appeals procedure, unfortunately more delays. Reason for delay are the high amount of appeals:

    Further to my email of 20 September, I am writing to update you on our progress.

    As you are aware, the Trust Unit has received a large number of appeals regarding the BBC’s decision on Formula One broadcasting. A number of complainants have raised different concerns, including Fair Trading. These complaints have been passed to the BBC’s Fair Trading team for clarification.

    We consider that all these appeals should be consolidated and considered together across the full range of the issues raised before making a decision on their admissibility. This is to ensure that all issues are captured and considered in a fair and efficient manner. This work will be completed once the Fair Trading responses have been sent.

    The General Appeals Procedure sets out that for appeals to be considered they must:

    …raise a matter of substance – in particular, that, in the opinion of the Trust, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the appeal has a reasonable prospect of success and there is a case for the Executive to answer. Consideration will also be given to whether it is appropriate, proportionate and cost-effective for the Trust to address an appeal. For example, given the distinct roles and responsibilities of the Trust and the Executive, the Trust will not usually take appeals relating to day-to-day operational issues.

    The full procedure can be found here:

    We expect to be able to write to you again with our conclusions on admissibility by the start of November. Again, we will keep you informed if for any reason we meet with delay during this process.

    I am worried about the "the Trust will not usually take appeals relating to day-to-day operational issues" part of her reply.
  • Comment number 55.

    Sebastien Vettel is a different gravy. As has been previously pointed out, if he was English he would be lauded as one of the greatest sportsmen of all time. Instead, his achievements are belittled by mostly Hamilton fans it would seem.

    What Vettel and RB have achieved this season is nothing short of miraculous.

    Sebastien is one of the most likeable, humble and interview friendly drivers on the circuit. He is a credit to the sport.

  • Comment number 56.

    Lots of chat about poles and wins. As far as I can see to have more poles than wins (think Ayrton Senna) just shows an ability to qualify a sub standard car at the front of the grid. If you put a car on pole that is below the quality of cars around it, they'll probably pass you in the race. If you are in the best car in the second or third row, you'll have a chance to win! There is also the fact that MS stats are altered by the fact that he raced in an era of refuelling where qualifying on pole was not always a tactical advantage, see Button and Barichello Moza 09 for a classic example!

  • Comment number 57.

    While I'll admit that Vettel has driven fantastically well this season, and deserves his second world championship, I cannot bring myself to like the guy. I find the finger thing offensive... yeah I know it's not a middle finger but I still find the back of the hand an offensive gesture, and it undoes all his graciousness and good humour, which he is so often lauded for. Anyway, it's easy to be gracious and all that when everything is going your way. Seems everyone has forgotten last season, with his impetuousness in trying to drive people off the road from pole, his repeated collisions and those gestures about Webber at Turkey.

    From the point of view of a fan of motorracing, I seriously hope he doesn't even come close to Schumi's records, which would require the other top teams to be consistently uncompetitive. For the same reason I wouldn't want LH, JB or FA to come close either. There has been some great racing this season but let's face it, a race-long battle for the lead is much more fun than a battle for 2nd.

  • Comment number 58.

    Maybe Vettel really is the 2nd Schumi - everyone stopped watching the F1 when he won every year as well.


  • Comment number 59.

    @ 55..timmilew

    ..not all Hamilton fans belittle Vettel(see my entry at 4); if anything the Button Babes are the ones who are constantly shooting down just about everything Hamilton or Vettel have achieved so far in their realtively short time in F1.

    Why this constant comparision between BUTT and the others, it really is baffling. For a start Jenson is hardly a spring chicken to F1 - a near veteran more like - and he ought to be miles ahead of the others in his achievement in GP racing if his followers assessment of him are to be believed.

    I just hope Vettel goes on to greater things - depends very much on the cars available to him, just like everyone else.

  • Comment number 60.

    Wonder what odds you'd get on Vettel surpassing Schumacher's records?
    24yrs old with 2 titles, even if he 'only' wins a title every other year for the next decade that'll take him to 7.

    Worth a few quid???

  • Comment number 61.

    Lets not forget the role that Adrian Newey has played in Vettel's success - I would love to see the top six drivers all in the RB7 and see who would come out on guessing is it would not be Vettel - Alonso or Hamilton all the way...

    Looking forward to more competetive season next year (hopefully)

  • Comment number 62.

    I have always liked Vettel. Seems like a successful young man with his head well screwed on. He and Red Bull are some of the main reasons why I still watch F1, and I do not care if the rest of F1 can compete, or not.

  • Comment number 63.

    #55. timmilew wrote:

    "Instead, his achievements are belittled by mostly Hamilton fans it would seem."


    Well spotted timmilew.

    It's not all of them, but many have such fervent support for their man, Hamilton, that any success for drivers like Hamilton & Button threatens them, so they feel the need to belittle their achievements.

    It used to be Alonso they'd have it in for, but the net has now widened (If anything, they appear to rate Alonso more now, fondly remembering his rivalry with Hamilton from when they had the 2 most dominant cars).

    The reality is Button, Hamilton, Alonso are all top drivers.

    But Vettel is proving he is THE top driver & he's certainly made the best out of the equipment he's got.

  • Comment number 64.

    #59. matt-stone:
    @ 55..timmilew

    ..not all Hamilton fans belittle Vettel(see my entry at 4); if anything the Button Babes are the ones who are constantly shooting down just about everything Hamilton or Vettel have achieved so far in their realtively short time in F1.

    Why this constant comparision between BUTT and the others, it really is baffling. For a start Jenson is hardly a spring chicken to F1 - a near veteran more like - and he ought to be miles ahead of the others in his achievement in GP racing if his followers assessment of him are to be believed.

    I just hope Vettel goes on to greater things - depends very much on the cars available to him, just like everyone else.


    timmilew is correct, there are others. but it does appear to be mainly Hamilton fans. Granted not all, but most Button fans appear to give a more rounded assessment & credit where it's due.

    As for your ageist comment about Button, not for the first time, you've contradicted yourself:

    "For a start Jenson is hardly a spring chicken to F1 - a near veteran more like - and he ought to be miles ahead of the others in his achievement in GP racing"

    "depends very much on the cars available to him, just like everyone else."

  • Comment number 65.

    Who cares what he does in the future? Not me. F1 finishes at the end of this season.


  • Comment number 66.

    will Vettel be the youngest half champion next year when we see half the races?

  • Comment number 67.

    Boycott the Abu Dhabi GP.
    No to Sky.

  • Comment number 68.

    Hey sgbus1; I revere Schumi. He's arrogant, bends the rules and has an unfeasibly large chin but he livens things up one hell of a lot. All racing drivers who are any good have massive egos and are probably verging on the psychopathic. Schumi has never been too hot on PR, but I sort of like that about him; you can tell when he's fibbing which he has had to do quite a bit of, but you can tell when he's being honest too. I think it's great that he's out there doing it at 42 and I think he'd still be winning given a competitive car. Let's hear it for the old fart in the paddock!

  • Comment number 69.

    >"Never really considered it before but Schumacher has far more wins than he has poles and I'm sure it's the same for most of the other drivers on the grid with a few wins to their name."

    Rubbish. Hamilton has 16 wins and 19 poles. Ayrton Senna had 41 wins and 65 poles. It's not uncommon for a driver, even a quite good driver, to have more poles than wins.

    >"Vettel has more poles than wins which I think backs up this view that he can't mix it with other cars in traffic"

    Again, that's simply untrue. I'd guess that 99% of the time a GP is won by a driver in pole positions 1 - 4. Hamilton has never won a race starting further back than fourth on the grid.

  • Comment number 70.

    >"His gesturing at other drivers (mark webber) and officials (when serving a drive through penalty) is the real sebastian vettel."

    Dear God! A driver who gestures!

    Thin gruel, my friend.

  • Comment number 71.

    I'm guessing you're one of these people who wants a different winner each race?
    Do you support Bernie's crackpot ideas of shortcuts, sprinklers, medals table etc?

    It isn't Red Bulls fault they've got the best car and the best driver, the same way it wasn't Scuhumacher and Ferrari's fault they had the best driver - car combo for 5 years. Its up to the other teams to pull thier finger out.

  • Comment number 72.

    Typical_English_No8 @ 71

    Agree with you completely. People now blame Red Bull for ruining F1 or making it boring (the same way as in Scuhumacher days as you mentioned). But the finger should really be pointed at other teams who were supposed to put up a fight. When they don't have the best car, at least they should try to do better at race strategies and pit-stops etc but Red Bull team is in a different league on these as well.

    Even though it has been a one horse race all season long, the overall racing has been pretty good IMO (some decent rookies in the mix as well). Of course it would be better if the battles are for the victory but F1 is not only about the front runners.

    Would like to see some improvements not only from McLaren and Ferrari but from Mercedes as well. Ross Brawn is one of the very few ever to outsmart Newey.

  • Comment number 73.

    It'll be interesting next year to see exactly how the ban on blown diffusers affects Red Bull and if it'll actually be more of a level playing field.

  • Comment number 74.

    @73 - unfortunately when it was adapted for the one race this season it seemed as if it was the McClarens it effected the most, hardly touched the Red Bulls and Ferrari greatly improved - so it looks like as always McClaren have the most work to do!!

    This has been a good season to watch racing - despite the dominance of Red Bull - but it has been marred for me since the 29th July - sick feeling in the pit of my stomach since then. As someone said on I think Jake's blog (which was closed after 2 days for some reason??) I may well be shedding a tear after the last forum of the season.......

    RIP Dan

    No to SKY

  • Comment number 75.

    It's waaaaaaay to early to start comparing Vettel to Schumacher. That's in Vettel's own admission.

    For one thing, Schumacher won his first two world championships in an inferior car to his main rival (Williams; which had otherwise one every world title from 1992-1997). Secondly, Schumacher then went to Ferrari-who were awful-and won the title five times. Five. Could any imagine Vettel going to say, Williams now and winning five titles?

    I like Vettel. However, I do get the feeling that Alonso, Hamilton and even Button would probably beat him in an equal car. I just hope everyone is a little better-matched next year.

  • Comment number 76.

    So far Vettels only really had to overtake in one race, hes yet to drive thru the pack, unlike Jenson, Lewis and Alonso who have each shown their more than capabale of winning from the n`th row.

    When Vettels won from the middle of the grid, then he will have shown the world he is as good as the others.

    Yes to terristrial TV.

  • Comment number 77.

    >"When Vettels won from the middle of the grid, then he will have shown the world he is as good as the others"

    When exactly have "the others" won from the middle of the grid? Lewis Hamilton has never won from the middle of the grid. Button? Nope. Alonso? He once qualified 15th and won the race, so I'll grant you that one.

    But as a general rule, it's very unusual for anybody in F1 to win a race from the middle of the grid or worse.

  • Comment number 78.

    #77. Twirlip wrote:

    When exactly have "the others" won from the middle of the grid? Lewis Hamilton has never won from the middle of the grid. Button? Nope. Alonso? He once qualified 15th and won the race, so I'll grant you that one.

    But as a general rule, it's very unusual for anybody in F1 to win a race from the middle of the grid or worse.


    Agreed, it doesn't happen often. However, Button did win the Hungarian GP in 2006 after starting 14th on the grid after a 10 place grid penalty. There are others & out of the current driver line-up Schumacher has won from 16th ('95 Belgian GP) & Barrichello 18th (2000 German GP).

  • Comment number 79.

    >"There are others & out of the current driver line-up Schumacher has won from 16th ('95 Belgian GP) & Barrichello 18th (2000 German GP)."

    They're all older drivers who have been in a of of races. I suppose that after Vettel (and Hamilton) have a few more seasons under their belts they might have a race from mid-grid to first on their records as well, since that sort of thing is down to luck as much as to skill. That is, it helps a lot if most of the drivers ahead of you crash or break down. That's what happened with Button in Hungary in 2006, it's what happened with Alonso when he went from 17th to first, and I imagine its what happened with Schumie in 95.

    Ok, I just looked, and the 1995 Belgian GP was held in the wet and saw ten cars retire, including the cars which qualified first, second, and third. I think my point stands - it's very unusual for anybody in F1 to win a race from the middle of the grid.

  • Comment number 80.

    #79. Twirlip wrote:

    They're all older drivers who have been in a of of races. I suppose that after Vettel (and Hamilton) have a few more seasons under their belts they might have a race from mid-grid to first on their records as well, since that sort of thing is down to luck as much as to skill. That is, it helps a lot if most of the drivers ahead of you crash or break down. That's what happened with Button in Hungary in 2006, it's what happened with Alonso when he went from 17th to first, and I imagine its what happened with Schumie in 95.


    As I said, I agree it doesn't happen often & is therefore unusual.

    That said, when it happens, it's still an achievement. Irrespective of weather conditions (which the winner also has to deal with), mechanical failures, tyre choices or cars crashing out there are still cars that have to be passed on track. In all of these examples, quite a few cars that originally started the race ahead of the winner were still running at the end.

    That's why Button's achievement of winning, albeit from the giddy heights of starting 7th on the grid (although at one point he was down to 20th) was impressive.

    Dealing with all the issues weather, safety cars etc. & achieving that kind of result, is a skill in itself.

    Alonso's win after he qualified 15th in the Singapore GP in 2008, might be viewed slightly differently by some, what with the Piquet Jnr incident?

    All wins, even from pole, require a certain amount of luck (even if it means not having any reliability issues).

    So, of course, the fact that the likes of Vettel, Hamilton or for that matter any driver that hasn't won a race from the mid grid, cannot be held against them.

    None the less, when, or if, it ever happens, the chances are it'll be pretty impressive, will likely demand at least a slice of luck & no small amount of skill.

  • Comment number 81.

    If Vettel was really that good, surely there would have been some sign of it by now? Like winning at Monza in a Torro Rosso in the streaming rain in his first full season, maybe? That was obviously the car. Another false dawn..... etc.

    As for the 1930s/50s guy, most of these kids would wipe the floor with the racers of the past. In fitness and racing ability, Varzi and co couldn´t get close. There were very few really close races in the years before the 60s and the disparity between machines could be massive. I´m also old enough to have seen most of the great drivers from Moss onwards and if you put Vettel in an Auto Union you´ve got Rosemeyer.

    But it´d still be the car, because the kid obviously can´t race. Right?


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