Sebastian Vettel's F1 title: how do he and Red Bull do it?
The 26-year-old driver joined the greats after winning his fourth F1 title last weekend
SEBASTIAN VETTEL has "joined the greats" at the tender age of 26 after winning his fourth consecutive Formula 1 world title with a sixth successive race victory at the Indian Grand Prix.
He now ranks alongside Juan Manuel Fangio, Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher as a four-time world champion, and has become the first man in his 20s to achieve such a feat.
"Sebastian Vettel raced into Formula One's history books in the manner to which we have become accustomed," says Tom Cary of the Daily Telegraph. "With a flawless drive of precision and assuredness that left his rivals chasing shadows."
He is "simply astonishing", says David Coulthard, also in the Telegraph. "In my opinion, he is now the full package; blisteringly quick over one lap (just ask Mark Webber, who is no slouch), ruthless when he needs to be, patient, intelligent both inside and outside the cockpit."
So how does he do it?
He has developed as a driver
In 2010, the year of his first triumph, he was nicknamed the 'crash kid' and there were still signs of weakness in the year he won his second title, claims Kevin Eason in The Times. But on Sunday "you would have needed a search party to scour through the smog of here to find an error in Vettel's drive to glory", he says. "It is all seamless now, a perfect combination of man and Adrian Newey-designed machine."
He has the best car
Vettel's Red Bull is indeed the best car on the grid, but that doesn't detract from his achievement, says Coultard. "Show me a world champion who did not have the fastest car," he demands. The man behind the car, legendary designer Adrian Newey agrees. Asked if other drivers on the grid would equal Vettel's performances if they had his machine he told the BBC: "It's a completely hypothetical question because Formula 1 is about man and machine. It's just not that simple. So it's an armchair question but it's not a question that has any real meaning."
But isn't he boring?
He is intelligent, but not boring. His reaction to winning the title proved he is no stick-in-the-mud. Vettel "displayed a rare emotion, performing doughnuts in his winning Red Bull, rather than proceeding to parc fermé, and bowing as if in supplication before the car", reports Paul Weaver of The Guardian. His actions saw him reprimanded by race officials but Weaver notes that once the dust had settled Vettel "spoke with a lucidity that reflected a keen intelligence". And that is what "separates him from his rivals as much as his driving".
So why does he get booed?
Vettel has been jeered on several occasions this season, and admits that it is painful. But he has a stoic outlook. "Maybe if I was a fan of McLaren, Ferrari, whatever, one of the traditional teams, I wouldn't like it if the same kind of guys, same team wins again and again," he said. "The most important thing for me is to get the respect from people that I know and people that I race against. I feel respected amongst the drivers. Sure you have to fight to get that respect when you come in but I'm not blaming the fans." ·