Vettel leaves India a legend, a hero
New Delhi: He leaves Indian shores as one of the greatest Formula One drivers ever but Sebastian Vettel was a picture of humility as he acknowledged every person who made a contribution to his triumphant run, showed respect to his critics and became a showman for the fans.
At 26, he is the youngest quadraple world champion but showed maturity beyond his age in his words even though there was childlike enthusiasm in his actions and gestures.
He knew that what he had chosen to do after winning the Indian Grand prix will not amuse the race stewards but he did it.
After being booed by Ferrari fans for his easy victories in most of the venues, he got a tremendous reception from the Indian fans and he responded to that in the best possible manner.
Instead of parking his car as the rules would suggest, he performed donuts with his RB09, named `Hungry Heidi`. He then bowed, jumped on to his car and threw his gloves towards his fans, making for unprecedented scenes at any F1 Grand Prix.
He was expectedly reprimanded by the stewards and his team Red Bull was fined 25,000 euros. The German said it was a spontaneous outpouring of emotions.
"Rocky, my engineer called for the usual procedure but I said `yeah, not this time` and there`s so many people here on the main grandstand that I had to do it. Usually we are not allowed to -- but it felt so right at that time," he said.
"It is also a special place to win at and yeah, when my engineer called for the usual procedure - parc ferme, park the car - I said to myself I don`t care, I go there, the crowd was great in the main grandstand and I`ll have some fun there which I enjoyed a lot.
"Unbelievable reception. It`s a shame we are not racing here next year."
Just three days back, Vettel said being stubborn was his biggest weakness and sometimes he becomes more stubborn than usual.
In a sport which gives very little scope for display of emotions, Vettel acted stubborn to break the rules and let it flow in front of
the fans last evening.
After the fans, Vettel acknowledged the contribution of every person in the Red Bull garage and said his celebration was also for the people who were instrumental in his incredible success.
"I spoke to the guys yesterday night... I`m not taking all the credit myself. I`m very thankful for what these guys are doing. If you look at their pay check at the end of the month, you`d be surprised if you could do the amount of hours that they do.
"I think it`s better to work at McDonald`s than to do what they do! It`s one hundred percent commitment. They love their job, they love the fact that they are working on a Formula One car and get to see technology like that. I think at the end of the day we could... It`s rockets in a way.
"It`s a shame, in a way, that with modern circuits people don`t get the excitement of the speeds that close any more, but I think for safety reasons there`s no doubt...You don`t want to go back to where we`ve been in the past, so I think the sport has progressed but for sure you lose some of the excitement but I think for racing fans, such as the mechanics, it`s still the same. It was just a gesture of saying thank you."
Asked if he feels people have been unfair to him by booing him and saying that F1 has become boring with him winning everything, Vettel said he understands the feelings of the fans of the traditional teams.
"To be honest with you, I`m not blaming the Ferrari fans. I tried to make the example, unfortunately nowadays the world is ticking so quickly that people are not always listening exactly to what I`m saying or what I`m trying to say. I don`t blame the people that booed, you know.
"If I go to the football stadium, for example, I cheer for the home team. The first moment you maybe don`t appreciate the outside or the away team to score a goal, the guy who actually scored a goal you don`t appreciate him being an amazing player and you might boo because other people boo," he said.
"Obviously it doesn`t feel great but if you have a love for.. For example for Ferrari or McLaren... Think if people think about it they understand but in the heat of the moment, you know, there`s nobody really to blame. It`s not necessarily my fault. I think I`m mature enough to understand that."