How Good is Sebastian Vettel?

Status
Not open for further replies.

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Sebastian Vettel is the current reigning two-time World Champion, but some doubts remain about how good he is. Quite often, the German is considered behind two of his peers in particular, namely Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. I believe he at least deserves to share a pedestal with those two drivers.

Part of Vettel's problem in trying to convince people that he is one of the greats is the unexciting nature of his typical victories. Almost all of his 24 victories have been lights-to-flag dominant victories. However, is this a comment on Vettel's style or a comment on F1 in 2012? These are the results this season...

CTA.png


9 of 15 races have seen the leader at the end of Lap One win the race. In addition, Vettel did not finish in Valencia when set for a dominant win. These lights-to-flag victories have been a feature of all drivers in the modern age, but are a stick to beat Vettel with. Why? Its considered he can't fight through the field, but it seems to be that it is a hollow criticism - his weekend was too perfect. It ought to be a feather in his cap - if Vettel's car is quick enough to win a race, it will be on pole!

The other criticism of the young German is that all his titles have come from being in an excellent car, ergo he can't drive a sub-standard car to the title. Well, few can, but I do believe his 2012 form has showed he has the ability to "hang in" to a title race even when the Red Bull isn't at its domineering best. And when it is at its best, he dominates. Much has also been made of Mark Webber's challenges in 2010 and 2012 to Vettel's hegemony in the team. Well, they weren't maintained in the end, were they? A Webber run tends to bring in a couple of great races, but in 2012 as in 2009 and even 2010 evaporated in a sequence of poor races. And that pattern is repeated in 2010, Webber in an RB5 should have taken a lead into the last race against Alonso in an F60 - Vettel won the title in a "bad year"!

It is four years since his first win. In those 4 years he's won more races than Nelson Piquet, Damon Hill, Mika Hakkinen and, yes, Lewis Hamilton have done in their whole careers. Only Senna and Schumacher can best his number of pole positions. And he is only 25 years old. Only 15 drivers had won Grands Prix by their 25th birthdays; Vettel was a double champion.

So to sum up, the idea that Sebastian Vettel is inferior to anyone on the current grid is to me not borne out by the facts. It seems wrong to me to criticise him for not recovering from mistakes he doesn't make in qualifying. It seems wrong to me to criticise him for not driving a good car when all he has to drive is a good car, and when he does so he obliterates his team-mate. He has the consistency of Alonso and the speed of Hamilton. He proved his fighting qualities on Curva Grande last year. Though he is ruthless on occasions, like Curva Grande this year, that ruthless streak has hardly tarnished the reputation of St. Ayrton.

And even in a "crash kid" season, even when it was not all roses for Vettel, he won the title. He was roundly criticised for his driving, and he won the title.

Only Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher have won three titles in a row. Should he win the title, Sebastian Vettel would be an extremely worthy addition to that illustrious list.
 

Boyle

Race Winner
Contributor
I've said it before, but I'll say it again - Master Vettel suffers from success syndrome. Just like when Schumi was trouncing the field at the start of the millennium, Vettel's popularity is suffering due to his on-track success. Not that he cares.

His drive at Spa earlier this year should be enough to show people that he can 'drive through a field'. He is also timing his charge to a 3rd title pretty well.

I'd like to know exactly how many drivers have won titles in so-called 'inferior' cars. I think that would be quite a short list. Just like Vettel has Newey's genius, the much revered Clark had Chapman behind him.

Sure he has his faults (don't they all?) but let's not forget he is only 25.
 

The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
A great article, teabagyokel

I fear that Mr Vettel is a victim of a similar effect of many drivers, in that he is finding it difficult to shake his tag, moreover, there are those who are unwilling to accept that it may not be true.

He has proven he can overtake. He has proven that he can hang in and win when the car is not the best, his stats are quite incredible for a man of his age. Yet some are still not convinced.

Who knows, when he retires at 40, having won 10 championships, maybe some will come round to the fact that heshould be in the top 20 of all time....
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
As Michael Schumacher has proven success is no reason to suggest, to some fans, that you are a great driver. Vettel has been fortunate enough to have driven some great cars by, perhaps, the greatest F1 designer ever. This shouldn't undermine the level of his achievement in the sport and I'm sure any driver on the grid would give there eye teeth to be in one of the Red Bulls of late.
 

Quintessentially

-
Contributor
Quite often, the German is considered behind two of his peers in particular, namely Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

And rightly so, when the cars are closely matched. This was further laid bare in Canada 2012.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Great post TBY. I agree with you completely. Vettel is a great driver and it seems to me, like a decenrt bloke as well. History will show he is one of the great F1 drivers. The very best make the most of what they have and rturn that into wins. The ultimate ainm of any team is to put the best driver in the best car and let him do his thing. Winning is what it's all about and Vettel does that.
 

Mephistopheles

Banned
Contributor
I think other drivers could deliver just as good results in that car (Obviously not Webber.) Lewis, Jenson. Kimi and Alonso (In spades.) just to name but a few....
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
I'll agree that he is a fantastic driver, man and machine in perfect harmony, the Red Bull fits him like a bespoke suit, he's been in it 4 seasons and has managed 2nd, 1st, 1st and currently 2nd.........but...........(no I'm not going to rehash all the old discussions) it's very rare you get that symbiosis between man and machine, Shumacher in the Ferrari and Valentino Rossi on a Honda/Yamaha spring to mind in recent years.

So I'm in no way saying he's not an excellent driver, he is. I am however saying he's an excellent driver in an exceptionally built car.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I think other drivers could deliver just as good results in that car (Obviously not Webber.) Lewis, Jenson. Kimi and Alonso (In spades.) just to name but a few....

Modified for truth and also "Conjecture M'lud" LOL
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
It is worth noting that until Vettel joined the team, all they had managed in all of their previous seasons combined was three third place finishes. Was the upswing upon his arrival pure coincidence?
 

Westy

Pole Sitter
I really can't see him bring behind Lewis and Alonso. Vettel has proven he can win even when things are stacked against him.

If I have any criticism for him it is that he chases stats too much. His pit wall were pretty much begging him to slow it down in Japan. He always wants that fast lap.

However, I am continuously impressed with his weekend performances ( much to my annoyance)
 

Harry

Rookie
It is also worth noting that until Vettel joined the team, all they had managed in all of their previous seasons combined was three third place finishes. Was the upswing upon his arrival pure coincidence?

yes I think it is. Webber the previous year (2008) managed on 4th place, one 5th and one 6th place, but mainly 7th and 8th placings as well as a few worse finishes. 2009 with the new RB5 chassis, he got 8 podiums from 18 races and 2 GP victories. Obviously the new RB5 was a much much better car than they had anytime before Vettel joined the team.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
I have no problem placing Vettel right alongside the other top two drivers you mentioned. He's clearly an elite driver and he's only getting better.

I do have a problem placing him alone at the peak though. I contend that we will not know how good he is until we see him pitted against another top-caliber driver.

I also contend that he would not have won the 2010 Championship if his team provided "equal-terms" to a fault. And like Eddie Irvine at Ferrari in 1999, Red Bull would have rather lost the WDC than have it won by their "other" driver. Mark's bike crash didn't help him out much either.

Nelson Piquet won 3 WDC against a field littered with legendary drivers. Over time people realized that he benefited from some extraordinary events and that he was rather fortunate to have enjoyed that level of success. I believe history has correctly placed him in the pantheon of Champions, as it will eventually do with Seb.

In short, we don't exactly know how good Vettel is yet.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Lets not forget he scored a point on his debut, won a race and scored a pole in his second year and in a Toro Rosso of all things. I wonder how many people would say in 1965 "well of course Clark is a two time world champion he's had the best car made by the best designer of all time". I sometimes think that we fail to credit greatness because a driver dosn't win every race starting from the back of the grid. If you've got a quick car and you've got the skills, what more do we expect a driver to do?
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
To answer the question, very good; easily top two/three on the grid.
However, not as good as three titles in a row (if he manages it) would suggest.

That has been a case of right car, right time and a combination of a lack of available challengers and major screw ups by competing teams and drivers; Ferrari/Alonso threw the title away in 2010 for example when they covered the wrong Red Bull driver at the final race in Abu Dhabi.

I fully expect him to win more titles though if he is in a competitive car.
 

ExtremeNinja

Karting amateur
Contributor
Looking at your table, teabagyokel. Alonso and Hamilton have both won races that they didn't lead the first lap - Alonso twice, Homilton once, Vettel none. Not sure what you can take from this as retirements probably play a part but thought I would point it out.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom