Born in 1987, Sebastian Vettel is among the youngest of all the Formula One drivers, the wiry built German having progressed to the sport’s highest echelon during the 2007 season with BMW. Vettel holds many records centred around his age, but he also holds the record for being the quickest driver to receive a fine, occurring only nine seconds into his career as he sped down the pit lane beyond the mandatory speed limit. Since starting with BMW and later, STR in 2007, he has gained a mixed reputation from fans and critics alike.
Vettel’s first race, replacing the recuperating Robert Kubica in the second BMW, went well. Despite getting in to trouble with the stewards for his minor infraction in the pitlane, the weekend of the US Grand Prix was a decent debut race for the German. Vettel qualified 7th, two places behind team mate Nick Heidfeld, and finished the race in 8th, collecting a point and making the paddock stand uup and take notice.
Vettel sat out the next few races as Kubica returned to racing, but when Scott Speed resigned from the Scuderia Toro Rosso team, Vettel was released from his BMW contract and joined the Italian-Austrian team, owned by Red Bull billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz. Vettel completed the final seven races in 2007 with STR, but the hype that was generated from his debut race earlier in the year quickly faded as Sebastian struggled with the car.
Overshadowed by his team mate, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Vettel’s stock started to fall. Things didn’t look too good for Vettel until the Japanese and Chinese Grands Prix. Following Red Bull driver Mark Webber in a point’s paying position in Fuji, the wet race had been interrupted by a safety car period. It was following Webber in close formation that Vettel rear-ended the Red Bull and both drivers retired form the race. Initially upset, Vettel could only apologise to a fuming Webber, but later on it turned out the mistake may not have entirely been down to Sebastian.
The following week in China Vettel made up for the poor result in Japan by taking his second career-points finish. Along with Vitantonio Liuzzi, he enjoyed a strong race and brought home five points. Liuzzi finished sixth and collected three for his hard work. Vettel was retained for 2008, but his first full season didn’t start well.
Retirements in the first four races of the 2008 campaign have led to many people question his ability, and being caught up in many incidents at the start of the races has lowered his stock. The incidents weren’t necessarily of Vettel’s creation, but the driver found himself caught up in them none-the-less. In Turkey, Sebastian finally saw the chequered flag, although he was one of the last drivers to see it, finishing way down in 17th. Two weeks later and Vettel showed the world a sterling effort during the Monaco race, the German driver bringing his new 2008 STR home in fifth.
Sebastian Vettel’s Career Stats To Date:
Previous to Formula One, Vettel has enjoyed dominant performances in lower formulae, competing almost perfectly in Germany’s Formula BMW series, taking 18 wins from a possible 20. He won his debut race in the Renault World Series and came close to winning the Formula Three Euroseries in 2006, missing out on the title by 11 points.
Vettel is apparently being lined up for a drive with Red Bull Racing next year, possibly at the expense of experienced driver David Coulthard. And while Vettel certainly has raw pace, is he able to convert this into pole positions, race wins and even championship success? What’s your view…?