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Sebastian Vettel: Carrying forward Michael Schumacher’s legacy

By Chaitan Papnai | Last Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 19:59
Chaitan Papnai
Real Picture

Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel is all set to claim his fourth drivers’ title in a row. The Red Bull driver has yet again proved that he is a force to reckon with. Like past three seasons, this year has been no different to him, thus far. Still leading, dominating, surprising and forcing people to think how powerful the machine he drives is or how good a driver he actually is?

In the 19-race long season, three-time reigning champion Vettel is comfortably sitting at the top of the Drivers’ Championship with 222 points, a lead of 53 points to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who is holding the second spot after the Italian GP -- 12th race of the season. The other drivers who are in the race for the Championship are Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus and Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber with 141, 134, 130 points respectively.

In last twelve GPs of the on-going season, Vettel has won half of them. And as the season is progressing, Vettel is coming out even stronger with each passing race. Out of last six GPs, he has won four.

Vettel has certainly changed the fortunes of the Austrian outfit, based at Milton Keynes (UK) with his consistency and led the team to three Constructors’ titles (from 2010 to 2012) in a row along with teammate Webber. Contribution of Webber in the team can’t be ignored over these years as when it comes to constructors’ championship, it’s a team effort. Even in the current season as well, Red Bull is way ahead of their competitors in the constructors’ championship, with a lead of more than 100 points to Ferrari, which is standing second at the points table with 248 points after the Monza GP.

Red Bull’s Australian driver – Webber, has announced his retirement and from next season onwards Vettel will be partnered by less experienced Australian driver, Daniel Ricciardo. It might give the champion team a tough time in 2014 season.

Let’s comeback to the driver whose childhood heroes were ‘The three Michaels’ - Michael Schumacher, Michael Jordan, and Michael Jackson. Change in rules over the last four years and especially the inclusion of Pirelli tyres in the year 2011 as the sole tyres suppliers, came out as biggest challenges for the team and its drivers. But Vettel proved his mettle, time and again and made sure that he lives up to the expectations of being a German driver.

The 26-year-old Vettel has made many records with the Red Bull team. In the very first year with the team in 2009, he finished the season as the youngest-ever Drivers’ Championship runner-up. In the next season, he won the Drivers’ Championship to become the youngest driver ever in the history of the game to win the title. The following season, he became the youngest double and then triple world champion in the next. These achievements speak volumes about the driver.

To realize such feats at a time when there are so many world champions around – Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher (now retired) – is undoubtedly an astonishing achievement.

The youngest driver to score a championship point, to lead a race, to secure pole position and to win a race – Vettel – is just behind his idol Schumacher and another legendry driver Ayrton Senna to clinch the record for most number of pole positions as well.

Seven races are still left in this season and Red Bull is already on the verge of winning both the Championship titles for record fourth time in a row.

The recent announcement by the Ferrari team to sign a two-year deal with Kimi Raikkonen means a deadly combo of two world champions – Raikkkonen and Alonso from 2014 onwards. And on top of it, we will see some major changes in 2014 in terms of rules and regulations. So from next year onwards, Red Bull and its German driver will surely expect a close competition from its rivals, especially Ferrari.

But who knows, may be the trio in Red Bull – Vettel, Christian Horner (Team Principal) and Adrian Newey (Technical Chief) will find new ways to maintain their domination in the sport. Whatever it might be, but the way Vettel has been driving for last four to five years, he has successfully maintained the legacy of record seven-time world champion German driver – Michael Schumacher.

First Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 19:59

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