Sebastian Vettel: better than Hamilton?

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I’ve been scolding myself for days for not making a bigger fuss over Sebastian Vettel’s Grand Prix debut. So here it is, almost three weeks late.

Vettel is hot stuff. Lewis Hamilton has seriously skewed our perceptions of what to expect of a rookie driver.

He was only going to get more attention than Hamilton on his debut if he’d stuck his BMW on pole, won the race, set fastest lap and snogged Bernie Ecclestone afterwards.

But what he did do was damn impressive – and his form up to this point suggests we’ve another special talent on our hands.

That F1 debut

Drafted into the car mere days before the United States race he qualified directly behind team mate Heidfeld, set the sixth fastest lap of the race and scored a point.

Vettel broke Jenson Button’s record for youngest ever points scorer. At 19 years, 11 months and 14 days he was three months younger than Button was at Brazil in 2000.

Not convinced yet? Here’s more.

When he first turned up as a test driver for BMW last year as a test driver at the Turkish Grand Prix he ended his first day fastest of all.

Next time around at Monza he was fastest in both Friday sessions – by half a second.

Dominating Formula BMW

OK so F1’s gone well for him so far. But what pedigree does he have in the junior categories?

In 2004, aged 17, he won the German Formula BMW championship with 18 wins from 20 starts. He scored 387 points from a possible total of 400.

To put that into perspective the winner the following year was Nico H????lkenburg. He scored exactly 100 points less than Vettel – and he’s now being managed by Willi Weber and touted as the next Michael Schumacher.

Vettel raced against Hamilton in the F3 Euroseries in 2005. But while Hamilton’s ASM team dominated, winning 17 of 20 races, Vettel had a hard time at ASL-M????cke Motorsport.

He scored 63 of the team’s 75 points, finishing fifth overall with three second places.

The following season he moved to ASM and finished second to team mate Paul di Resta. But it was away from F3 that he truly impressed – he appeared in the faster World Series by Renault for the Misano round and won both races.

F1 in 2008?

Vettel pedigree is quite exceptional, then. But his F1 future is a little hard to predict. He may be a BMW man right now but his contract is with Red Bull and they have an option on his services for 2009.

So where will he fit into the tight 2008 driver market? On the strength of this evidence – and what Hamilton has achieved so far this year – there’s no reason to delay the arrival of a driver who could be the Briton’s number one rival in the near future.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Sebastian Vettel: better than Hamilton?”

  1. PLEASE….recall, Michael Schumacher, Pedro De La Rosa, Alan McNish, Antonio Pizzonia, Eddie Irvine, even Jacquae Villeneuve …… anybody, ANYBODY but Vettel.

  2. Why don’t you like Vettel?

  3. y alonso is so rude he has no sporstmanship in his mind he is soo stupid n y he always afraid to ferrari,s team

  4. @ safeer
    Have you read the article or are you a rnadom anti-Alonso troll?!
    Good call Keith – Vettel’s not quite in need of his own “Hype-o-meter” yet though!

  5. why do you hate alonso so much?he is he may not have sportmanship,but you have to admit that he has pure talent.

  6. alonso may have talent but he is a cheat, so its hard to respect him at all

  7. Funny to read this now :):). Vettel – almost a 3 time champion and hamilton – 1.

    1. Still funny to read :))
      Vettel: 4 Hamilton: almost 3
      8 years later, and no one knows the answer to that question.

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