The Wunderkid Does Something Wunderful – And It Is Oh So Painful For the Rest Of Us, unless of course you’re a sebastian vettel fan…

I knew what was coming. But I was quite frankly in denial about what I had to do. Part of me knew as far back as Canada. An unthinkable, troubling, beyond my comprehension thought would not go away. Somewhere back in the recesses of my mind I knew there was a chance, a very good chance, that I would have to sit down and write a post about Sebastian Vettel becoming a four time world champ and along the way breaking and collecting even more records.

I can’t express to you how frustrating the last four years have been. Not necessarily because the guy I follow, the one driving a red car with a little prancing horse on it, has lost out over and over again to Vettel and Red Bull (but that does not help matters either), but because I am the kind of fan that’s not too interested in seeing one team or one individual hog all the attention.

However, don’t confuse this with me being angry with Vettel or Red Bull, quite the opposite. I am very impressed with what they have accomplished. Funny how I can exist in these two completely separate frames of mind, right? I think this is called a love/hate relationship, LOL.

Back to my point. I think it was the first race after the summer break, Belgium, when my mind started to drift over to the unthinkable again. Two weeks later in Italy it was back, at Singapore the feeling was so great I thought I needed therapy. On to Korea and I could not shake it and by Japan I knew it was here to stay, forever…

Sebastian Vettel will be the 2013 World Champion winning four consecutive titles and becoming the youngest driver in history to achieve such a remarkable feat.

I don’t really care how it was done or what the reasons were; the change of tire construction mid-season (which by the way is exactly when the RB9 started to come on strong, but whatever), Red Bull’s constant crossing over the line with their design solutions over the last four years, constantly forcing the FIA to make them dial it back or in several cases to cease and desist (some might even call this cheating which I agree with), the fact that Ferrari could not build a car worthy of Fernando Alonso’s skill-set and when they did briefly accomplish it, somehow managing to make it worse as the year went on (currently the F138 is the 5th fastest car, thank you for that one Maranello).

Of course you can also include Vettel’s driving ability, I’m not that much of a sore loser that I can’t recognize it isn’t all the car. I have posted frequently that to be a champion in F1 takes more than being fast, more than luck, it takes a certain ability to drive like a champion, irrespective of what car you are in or that you are a champion. Alonso has done this throughout his tenure at Ferrari; Hamilton has started to perform this way at Mercedes and this year Vettel has on balance, not including the car, driven very much like a champion. Period.

Fernando Alonso with Sebastian Vettel - One is considered the most complete i.e best driver, one has four championships. Which one would like to be?

Fernando Alonso with Sebastian Vettel – One is considered the most complete i.e best driver, one has four championships. Which one would you like to be?

None of which makes this post any easier for me, however this is my mortal coil, my problem to sort out. I have used this phrase quite often over the last four years and until I discover one more appropriate, I shall continue using it. My father always said give credit where credit is due no matter what you feel on the inside. As an adult male I find it sometimes hard to apply this advice to my real world situations.

So here I am, trying to do the right thing but basically writing a post about something that really doesn’t sit well with me. Then I had an idea, something that would give Vettel and Red Bull their due without requiring me to wax poetic. I’ll stick strictly to the facts, the statistics, black & white, the records don’t lie. So without further delay let’s by all means investigate/celebrate Vettel & Red Bull’s accomplishments, as found in the List Of Formula One Drivers Records on Wikipedia:

Youngest driver to race:

#7 Sebastian Vettel 19 years, 349 days, 2007 US GP

(Fine, that one will be broken possibly next year with the Russian.)

Total wins

#4 Sebastian Vettel 36 (wins)

(It’s the car.)

Percentage 

#6 117(entries) 36 (wins) 30.77%

(The carrr…)

Most wins in a season 

#2 & #4 tied with M. Schumacher (11 wins) 2011, (10 wins) 2013

Note: Could break his own record and tie Schumacher for 1st with 13 wins if he wins out the season.

(The car again.)

Highest percentage of wins in a season

#6 Sebastian Vettel 62.5% (2013)

#8 Sebastian Vettel 57.89% (2011)

(Both were the car.)

Most consecutive wins

#3 Sebastian Vettel – (tied with M. Schumacher) Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Korean, Japanese, India [2013]

#9 Sebastian Vettel – Brazil, Abu Dhabi, Australia, Malaysia [2010-2011]

#9 Sebastian Vettel – Singapore, Japan, Korea, India [2012]

(Ok, it’s Adrian Newey.)

Most consecutive wins from first race of season

#7 Sebastian Vettel – 2 wins [2011]

(Did I mention the car yet?)

Youngest winner

#1 Sebastian Vettel 21 years, 73 days 2008 Italian GP

(Got to give this one to Vettel due to the fact it was a Toro Rosso.)

Most consecutive wins at same grand prix

#7 Sebastian Vettel – Singapore (3), Korea (3), Indian (3)

(The RB7 to RB9.)

Total pole positions

#3 Sebastian Vettel 43 (could be 46 by years end)

(Did someone say CAR?)

Percentage pole positions

#5 Sebastian Vettel 117 (entries) 43 (poles) 36.75%

(Ditto.)

Most consecutive pole positions

#10 Sebastian Vettel (tied with Fernando Alonso)

2010-2011 Abu Dhabi – Turkey

2011 Hungary – Japan

(Nice to see my guy every once in a while on par with Vettel. Truth be known, Alonso has quite a lot of records as well and is even in front of Vettel for many, however this is not a post about the Spaniard, so back to it.)

Most pole positions in a season

#8 Sebastian Vettel 19 poles [2010]

(Eight does not seem that great.)

Highest percentage of Pole position in a season

#5 Sebastian Vettel 19 (races) 15 (poles) 79%

(OK, this one is slightly impressive.)

Youngest pole sitter

#1 Sebastian Vettel 21 years, 72 days Italian GP

(Damn this one is very impressive.)

Youngest driver to set the fastest lap in an official GP season

#1 Sebastian Vettel 19 years, 53 days, turkey FP2 [2006]

(Wow, all the way back in 2006. Got to give him this one.)

Total starts from front row

#4 Sebastian Vettel 61

(How do you say car in German?)

Percentage starts from front row

#4 Sebastian Vettel 52.14%

(If this were an exam, 52% would be an F.)

Most consecutive starts from front row

#5 Sebastian Vettel 14

#9 Sebastian Vettel 9

(So what.)

Most starts from front row in a season

#1 Sebastian Vettel 18

(Crap this is getting ridiculous.)

Youngest driver to start from front row

#2 Sebastian Vettel 21 years, 72 days Italian GP [2008]

(Already knew it.)

Total fastest laps

#10 Sebastian Vettel (tied with Gerhard Berger) 21

(I am running out of excuses…)

Youngest driver to set fastest lap

#5 Sebastian Vettel 21 years, 353 days

(Ha! Alonso has him beat by 32 days.)

Total podium finishes

#9 Sebastian Vettel (tied with Nigel Mansel)

(Have I worn out the car answer yet?)

Percentage of podium finishes

#8 Sebastian Vettel 50.43%

(This is one better than Schumacher, I can get behind this one.)

Most podium finishes in a season 

#1 Sebastian Vettel 17 (2011) tied with M. Schumacher

#9 Sebastian Vettel 13 (2013) tied with F. Alonso

(Maybe he is as good as everyone says.)

Most consecutive podium finishes

#3 Sebastian Vettel 11

(When is this going to end?)

Most consecutive podium finishes from first race of season

#2 Sebastian Vettel 9 (tied with Alonso and Hamilton)

(No surprise that these are the three most significant drivers of their generation.)

Youngest driver to score a podium finish

#1 Sebastian Vettel 21 years, 73 days

(Rats, he beat Alonso by 164 days.)

Career points 

#3 Sebastian Vettel 1376

(To have this many so early in his career, all I can say is “Wow.”)

Most consecutive points finishes

#4 Sebastian Vettel

(Whatever, you get points al the way down to 10th.)

Highest average points per race entered

#1 Sebastian Vettel

(OK, this one is definitely the car.)

Most championship points in a season

#’s 1,2,3 Sebastian Vettel

(Just when I thought I had him, this stat comes up, ugh.)

Every lap lead of a GP

#5 Sebastian Vettel – 10 races

(On a serious note, this is truly an astonishing stat and for me one of the few that is so impressive.)

Most laps led, total

#4 Sebastian Vettel 2,258

(I don’t even want to think about this number in five years…)

Most consecutive laps in the lead

#5 Sebastian Vettel 205

(This is not even funny anymore.)

Pole and win in same race

#3 Sebastian Vettel 25

(Can I even come back from this one?)

Most wins from pole position in a season

#1 Sebastian Vettel (tied with Nigel Mansel) 9 (2011)

(I got nuthin’.)

Pole win and fastest lap in same race

#5 Sebastian Vettel, tied with Ayrton Senna, Aloberto Ascari 7

(Once he’s in the same league with Senna, enough already, I quit.)

But just for the sake of being complete, Sebastian Vettel also has four grand slams, (pole, led every lap, and scored fastest lap), is the youngest world champion, is #3 in championships at 4 tied with Alain Prost, youngest double, triple, and quadruple world champion, youngest winner for two different teams, and beyond these stats it just gets too weird and unimportant to continue, but I think the point is clear enough.

Lewis Hamilton with Sebastian Vettel. After Lewis's grand entrance into F1 and a championship in year two, I'm sure he thought many more were on there way. Oopsy...

Lewis Hamilton with Sebastian Vettel. After Lewis’s grand entrance into F1 and a championship in year two, I’m sure he thought many more were on the way. Oopsy…

Sebastian Vettel, love him or hate, is here to stay and is the real deal. He deserves each and every one of his championships, and if I am honest I was genuinely impressed, even excited the first time I read through all of his records and stats. I go on and on about Vettel, Red Bull, and the car he has had at his disposal the past four years. Most of the time I am a harsh critic, but for this post I’m just having a little fun.

I have on many occasions pointed to the superiority of his equipment and used this to dismiss the success he has enjoyed thus far in F1. Maybe if Adrian and Red Bull ever stumble we will see a different Vettel, one that can only qualify 5th or 6th, one that has to drive around back in 7th or 8th. Or just maybe we’ll see a Vettel that despite having an uncompetitive car got everything he could out of it and made a 7th place car a 1st or 2nd place car that Sunday. Maybe only then will fans like me see Vettel can get the job done with a lesser car, a la Alonso, a la Hamilton. Time will tell.

Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. There was a time when i was certain Michael's records at least two of them were safe forever. Now Im not so sure. I wonder what the retired driver things or the real possibility of his 7 WDC's matched and passed?

Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. There was a time when I was certain Michael’s records, at least two of them were safe forever. Now I’m not so sure. I wonder what the retired driver thinks of the real possibility that his seven WDC’s will be equaled and/or passed?

However that situation is not likely to come along. The RB9 is at the top of its class and so is Sebastian Vettel and we should all just forget the other stuff for now and recognize F1 is never just about the driver, is never just about the car, never just about the team. It is the summation of all of these (and quite a bit more really). This is why we all love F1 so much. And don’t think for one carbon fiber second I would not give anything for Fernando to be driving the best car and for others to be claiming the same thing. Whether it’s the car or not, what Sebastian Vettel has done with all of Adrian Newey’s creations is worthy of our praise.

Say all you want about driver, car, and team, but these statistics don’t lie and they paint a picture that is truly great, as in Vettel and Red Bull are truly Great Champions.

-jp- (and did I really just say that?)

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4 Comments on “The Wunderkid Does Something Wunderful – And It Is Oh So Painful For the Rest Of Us, unless of course you’re a sebastian vettel fan…

  1. Das Auto!

    Ha ha my favourite retort was ‘If this were an exam, 52% would be an F’ 🙂

    The ‘total package’ answer is well demonstrated by Alonso, Button and Hamilton, all recent world champions who haven’t suddenly lost their racing brains, but clearly aren’t in the best car.

    Maybe as a present for winning Vettel should be moved back to Torro Rosso to share his expert knowledge and winning ability! Realistically Newey is good and so is Vettel, so short of it being their turn to accidentally develop a stinker of a car, no-one is going to voluntarily walk away from the winning formula!

    Nice idea for a different approach to discuss his win. Congratulations Vettel, but making a bit more of a challenge next time eh? We need more excitement in F1 or Bernie will start talking about sprinklers for races again!!!

    • lisa

      i just can’t fathom that Red Bull will keep this kind of dominance going, so sparklers (can’t believe you remember that one) will not be necessary lol. if i had to point to one element that Redbull and vettel had in their favor it was that renault cleverly figured out the off throttle blowing and were just too far ahead of everyone .i.e everyone just had too far to go to catch up and when they did adrian was off to other development. with the closed loop exhaust or the absence of a normally aspirated exhaust it don’t everyone will be at square one again.

      that is not to say Red bull will produce a bad car but the parity will be much more obvious and that will be a good thing. -jp-

      ps what is your twitter handle?

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