Heading into the summer break Sebastian Vettel had a handy lead in the championship but there was little indication he was about to end the year with a record-matching nine wins in a row.
Consistent top four finishes in the opening rounds had allowed him to open up a margin to the chasing pack. But there were some small signs Red Bull had found an advantage.
Vettel won emphatically in Canada – not a strong track for the team in previous years. At Silverstone his gearbox failed while he was leading, without which he would have scored three wins in a row.
But after the August holiday, through a combination of the new tyre compounds and Red Bull continued development of the RB9, Vettel had the means to achieve an almost unprecedented feat in Formula One history. That he capitalised on that advantage so effectively makes him a clear choice as driver of the year.
It’s easy to gloss over the details of his incredible run of nine consecutive wins which began in Belgium. Such as the care he had to take in Italy to nurse a damaged tyre in the first stint and an ailing gearbox in the second.
At Suzuka he almost beat Webber to pole position despite his KERS not working. In the race his irresistible speed meant his team mate would have struggled to contain him whichever strategies they had been on.
In Brazil wet weather conditions were supposed to give his rivals a chance to get on terms with them. Instead he comfortably took pole position and was over a second quicker than Webber.
|Beat team mate in qualifying||17/19|
|Beat team mate in race||15/15|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||921/1038|
The sheer scale of Vettel’s superiority over his team mate this year underlines how strong his season was. He never finished a race behind Webber, was only beaten on merit in qualifying once and took almost twice as many points.
The defining moment of the season in terms of their relationship was, of course, in Malaysia, where Vettel disregarded the infamous “Multi 21” instruction – an order for him to hold position behind Webber. Vettel had lost the initiative to his team mate early in the race by pitting too soon to switch from intermediate to slick tyres on a drying track.
One week earlier in Australia Vettel had started the race from pole position but fallen behind Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen as the Red Bull proved tougher on its tyres. A challenging season appeared to lie ahead, and a driver who has won two world championships by less than seven points was never going to pass them up again just to placate his team mate.
There were other occasions when Vettel railed against the constraints imposed on him by the early 2013 tyres. Spain was a repeat of Australia. Then in Monaco he took a temporary break from nursing his tyres in second place to set the fastest lap of the race for “satisfaction”.
The fragility of the tyres in the first half of the year seemed to be the only thing that gave Vettel’s rivals a chance to catch him – no wonder a fierce off-track battle was fought trying to influence Pirelli’s decisions.
Vettel’s best win of the year came at another venue where he was yet to taste victory. Despite an intermittent KERS glitch he resisted a twin-pronged attack from Lotus to take his first F1 victory on home ground.
There were certainly days in 2013 when Red Bull comfortably had the best car and Vettel merely had to turn up and beat his increasingly demoralised team mate. But he also took 25 points on days like these when Red Bull’s supremacy was seriously tested. In 2013 the best car also had the best driver in it.
Sebastian Vettel 2013 form guide
How the rankings are produced
This is a ranking of how drivers have performed in the 2013 season, irrespective of their form in previous years. Among the data referred to in producing the rankings are notes on each driver’s performance at each race weekend, compiled data on car performance, direct comparisons between team mates and each driver’s form guide.
Over to you
How highly do you rate the drivers who’ve appeared so far in the rankings? Give your views on them in the comments.
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2013 F1 season review
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- The complete F1 Fanatic 2013 season review
- The drivers, teams and cars of 2013
- 2013 F1 season in stats: The year in context
- Essential reading: F1 Fanatic’s highlights of 2013
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96 comments on “2013 F1 season driver rankings #1: Sebastian Vettel”
17th December 2013, 10:45
The most telling aspect of the season for Vettel that makes him stand out above every other driver in my opinion is, Webber beat him twice in qualifying through the season and on both occasion he had to take pole position to beat Vettel.
That shows the level at which Vettel operated during the season.
17th December 2013, 12:46
Also shows the level of the Red Bull’s engineering department
17th December 2013, 15:28
You mean the same engineering department webber had?
17th December 2013, 17:42
Cmon now let’s not be bitter. I’m not a huge Vettel fan, but both drivers share the same engineering department and Seb managed to trash his opponent time and time again. Mark is a hardened driver and could not compete with Vettel’s dominance.
Credit where credit is due and Vettel deserves it. Let’s hope ’14 gives us some more ‘aligned’ racing
Max Jacobson (@vettel1)
17th December 2013, 20:05
I think I see @todfod‘s point: that Red Bull were able to consistently lock-out the front row in the latter part of the season required doffed caps and suchlike.
However, what it also says is that Vettel was just simply much better with the same equipment in every facet of his game. That’s a tough thing to do – not even Alonso managed it.
Force Maikel (@force-maikel)
17th December 2013, 11:05
I don’t think there is anyone who deserved this spot more than Vettel. This season was another example of his abilities, I don’t think there are that many people out there that can still come up with silly reasons why he isn’t a deserving formula one world champion.
Well done mister Vettel! I hope that in the next season you will receive a bit more opposition and I’m looking forward to see you battle it out with the other great drivers out there.
Signed, a Fernando Alonso suporter
17th December 2013, 11:27
@force-maikel Same here, no one can deny that Sebastian Vettel was the driver of 2013 unless they weren’t watching. This season wasn’t about Mark Webber or Fernando Alonso being slow, it was Vettel just being so much faster. Race after race, he could have slacked off a bit after winning the championship but he didn’t. What a remarkable season for Sebastian Vettel.
Signed, a Lewis Hamilton supporter
17th December 2013, 13:46
@force-maikel – Nobody can doubt Vettel as a deserving champion, however I feel compelled to not simply translate the stats into a driver ranking; F1 is more complicated than that. Certainly Vettel has proved that like Schumacher, Senna, Alonso and other F1 greats, he can dominate when given the right car, in fact you could even say he is more dominant than Ayrton Senna was at his best. And yet, for me, I feel very uncomfortable about mentioning Vettel in the same sentence of such great names, because, frankly, all he has proven so far it that he can get the maximum from a car that is to his liking. For me, the potential breadth of his skills have been dulled by the effects of a career spent at the front. He has not had to cope with a difficult car, like Alonso did in 2012, and he has not had to rally a team around him after a team change, like Schumacher did in 1996. And whilst Vettel will deny this, as proved in Malaysia this year, the taste of defeat certainly tastes even more bitter in the mouth of a man used to victory, something that’ll certainly count against him when the inevitable poor car gets served up to Vettel.
I also think the era has suited the man. In 2010, he was one of a five man crowd. In 2013 he is demi-god. What has changed? The tyres. Vettel is unquestionably the best driver at managing the Pirellis, and that, in tandem with the speed, grip, downforce and tyre friendliness of his cars, has seen him dominant the Pirelli era. However, if Pirelli really are going to be as conservative as they say they are going to be next year, tyre management will count for nothing, so it’ll be interesting to see how he compares then. Also the exhaust blown diffuser, round which Vettel adapted his driving style, where he rolls the rear of the car through the apex with a lot of throttle, but always to have the slide scoped up by a mixture of understeer and a lot of rear downforce, is banned, so it’ll be very interesting to see how quickly he can adapt his driving style; my guess is that it’ll take Alonso less time to adapt such is his versatility.
When I look at Vettel’s Singapore pole lap, I see an exquisitely clean and consistent racing driver utterly at one with car he is driving, and utterly at ease with himself. And yet, I also see a car that is on the throttle twenty meters earlier than any other. So whilst we can in no way suggest he is not a deserving champion, I also don’t think we need to defaultly recognize him as the world’s best driver, just 12 short months after Alonso unquestionably had that crown. If Alonso finds himself next to Vettel at some point in his career, I’d be amazed if Alonso didn’t beat him. Staggered in fact. However even though the day that both of them find themselves in the same garage may never happen, if we are to believe reports regarding Mercedes’ 2014 technical budget, then Vettel might be spending 2014 looking at the distant gearbox of a W05, and how he copes with that really will be the litmus test.
Signed, a Ferrari supporter
V. Chris (@vasschu)
17th December 2013, 15:04
18th December 2013, 9:38
@vasschu – Being the best driver of 2013 and being the best driver in the world are two different things. I think you agree with me in saying that Button was the best driver of 2009, but was he the best driver in the world in 2009? No.
V. Chris (@vasschu)
18th December 2013, 12:11
Sorry mate but i can’t understand what you want to say here.
The way you wrote it, i assume that Alonso is the best driver in the world, not the best driver for 2012?
Is this what you mean, because in that case i wouldn’t use the world “unquestionably”, and i wouldn’t speak for everybody. In fact, this will be only your opinion.
18th December 2013, 13:10
@vasschu – No. What I’m saying is that F1 is a maddeningly difficult sport to measure. Vettel is “unquestionably” the driver of 2013, but I don’t that automatically makes him the best out there. Alonso was “unquestionably” the best in 2012, because he was voted the best on this site and he won the team principle’s vote, but in 2011 Vettel won. My argument is that drivers peak and trough with various factors, so it becomes difficult nigh impossible to rank drivers. Button had a good year in 2009, but if you asked most fans back then who was the best they’d have answered Hamilton. So you see my point, it is important not to get sucked into the premise of “you’re only as good as your last race” and ignore the bigger picture when attempting to rank drivers. If Vettel has a poor year next it’ll almost certainly open an Aladdin’s cave of criticism, but if he dominates we’ll have to get on our knees again. In 2009 we acknowledged that it was actually the BGP01 that won the WDC, but in 2013 we’ve had so many superlatives thrown at us we’ve rather forgotten what it’s like to have another driver other than Vettel win the championship and we’re all convinced that Hamilton and Alonso are a bumbling pair of amateurs…
V. Chris (@vasschu)
18th December 2013, 14:09
Fair enough, explained that way i agree. (on that point) :)
David not Coulthard (@)
17th December 2013, 16:44
His car is more reliable now, and his driving is more reliable as well, actually. 2010 would’ve been less equal had Vettel won in Bahrain, Australia, and Korea, and had he not collided with Webber in Turkey (which was his fault, I think), and the tyres would still have read “Bridgestone”.
Having said that, if the W05 happens to be that fast how is Vettel, or for thatmatter Fernando, supposed keep up to see their
18th December 2013, 10:05
@davidnotcoulthard – All exceedingly true, but even if Vettel won the 2010 championship by a bigger margin, it would still only prove that he’s a better driver than Webber, and that the RB6 was the best car out there.
Deb Luhi (@debeluhi)
19th December 2013, 1:03
And if Alonso won that year it would be a proof that he’s unquestionably the best driver in the world.
David not Coulthard (@)
19th December 2013, 5:00
No, it would only prove that the F10 can win a championship, and that Alonso is better than Massa.
Seriously, how many times will how many people need to tell you that it’s not a valid argument.
If Jochen Rindt was so good why did he move to Lotus knowing that he could die driving a Lotus? Was his championship win nothing more than proof that Lotus designed bl**dy good cars?
And the same goes for Fangio, Farina (who won in a 1950 Alfa, for goodness’ sake), Mansell (was his championship win mere proof that he was better than Patrese, and did the FW14B do the rest?), Senna (who won all his WCCs in a McLaren), and even Alonso, actually, who won championships with an on-form Team Enstone.
19th December 2013, 10:58
@davidnotcoulthard @debeluh – Cars can be easily measured, but drivers, unless they are teammates tend not to be. If Alonso had won the championship in 2010 it would a) prove that the F10 is capable of a championship win, and b) prove he is a better driver than Massa. However we can theoretically bear out which of the drivers extracted the largest percentage of performance from their car, with the F10 being the second best car of 2010, something that can be proved analysis of downforce output, apex speeds, tyre friendliness, reliability and breaking points. If Alonso had won the championship in 2010, we could have summarized that he extracted a greater percentage of performance from his car than Vettel did, but instead, from a sheerly mathematical sense, we see a linear championship in which no such conclusions can be made.
However let’s not operate under any illusion that drivers only win the championship if they have the fastest car. Hamilton had a slower car than the F2008, and yet, won the championship. Senna had a slower car than the FW13 in 1991, and yet, won the championship. Schumacher had a slower car than the FW16 in 1994, and yet, won the championship. Alonso had a slower car than the MP4-20 in 2005, and yet, won the championship. So whilst it’s rare, it is possible to win the championship without the fastest car, or come close.
And it is the act of “coming close”, where we can also measure that illusive percentage of car performance extracted. Alonso in 2010/2, Schumacher in 2006, Raikkonen in 2003/5 and Hamilton in 2007/10 are earned career kudos through challenging a fundamentally better or more reliable package to the final race, and it is those kind of things that allow fans to build a more comprehensive perception of a driver beyond simply number of championships.
Tommy C (@tommy-c)
17th December 2013, 19:19
I don’t get it. Why does Seb have anything else to prove? I really don’t think he does. You say he hasnt been challenged by having a poor car. This is the same Seb who jumped in and scored points on debut then landed a seat at Toro Rosso and managed to finish 4th in tricky conditions after crashing out from 2nd in the previous race. Oh, and of course won a race the following season in a car no one would consider a front runner. He showed well and truly before 2010 that if given the right car, he’d use it to great effect and that’s exactly what he’s done. Would Alonso beat him in equal machinery? It’d be close as they’re both top notch drivers. I think Seb would have the edge now though. And don’t forget, he’s still so young that he’ll only get better.
Tommy C (@tommy-c)
17th December 2013, 19:21
And by crashing out from 2nd, I mean to say 3rd.
18th December 2013, 9:25
@tommy-c – I don’t really get that comment. I don’t think you can so overtly credit Vettel for scoring points on his debut, because he had had such extensive testing before hand; he was a “plug ‘n’ play” driver. And I think it takes an individual utterly void of logical not to acknowledge the fact that even though Toro Rosso traditionally adopt the lower placings, they were quite competitive in 2007/8. In the the dry both the STR2 and the STR3 tended to overheat their rear tyres, but in the wet generated good temperature. This is born out by the fact that Bourdais, a staggeringly mediocre driver, found himself at the sharp end of the grid in the 2008 Belgian and Italian Grands Prix, and although Bouradis stalled from his fourth placed grid spot at Monza, his pace during the race was easily good enough to have made it a Toro Rosso 1-2.
In 2010, few regarded him as the best out there. In Turkey his over ambitious and resultantly disastrous move on Webber was quite blatantly a response to increasing momentum on the other side of the garage, and further disastrous races at the Hungaroring and Spa earned him the title “The Crash Kid”. Vettel only began to ascend the driver rankings when Pirelli returned, and a mastery of tyre management very much proved to be Vettel key strength. However, as I say, that won’t be of much help in 2014 if Pirelli really go as conservative as they claim.
Vettel is a great driver. He will be the best driver in the world with yet more experience, but right not I have a gut feeling about Alonso.
David not Coulthard (@)
19th December 2013, 5:09
Tghe STR were a bit of RBR photocopies. Considering that, why did the RB4s fall behind in Monza 2008?
And what about Brazil 2008? Where was Bourdais then? what was Vettel doing with the WDC at the same time? What did he do to the driver who, as a rookie, beat Fernando in the championship?
Yes, my post involved a bit of cherry-picking, but the same goes for your posts.
Yes, Vettel is not, by any means, head and shoulders above the others, and I’m pretty sure he was not way ahead in @keithcollantine ‘s standings, but I’ not putting Vettel far behind Fernando, either.
19th December 2013, 14:45
@davidnotcoulthard – I have no problem with cherry-picking, it is what debating is all about!
Regarding the STR3, or Julie as Vettel named her, it was a tyres up Newey creation. It debuted at Monaco, and by that time Red Bull were already seeming to be lagging behind their 2007 form, so it seems logical to argue that maybe Newey focused his efforts on the car that carried their new protege, or perhaps using it as basis for aerodynamic experimentation with a view for 2009. Certainly, the STR3 was not a slow car, and the fact that Vettel and Bouradais were both consistently beating solid drivers in Webber and Coulthard certainly suggests that it was a faster car. I don’t think that can be argued against.
The STR3 was, at the closing stages of the season at least, a much faster car than the TF108 of Trulli, and in Jarno’s case it certainly appeared that the prodigious pace of his early career was starting to wane and was regularly being put under pressure by rookie teammate, Glock, so it is not exactly a great accolade on Vettel’s part that he beat him.
And what you must remember is that Alonso had spent 2002 in the testing wilderness before finding himself on pole at only the second round of the 2003 season. Trulli had infinitely more experience, and was a real qualifying specialist, and even though Alonso suffered plenty of bad luck in a season that would ultimately see him behind Trulli in the standings, he won a race comfortably at Hungary, and lapped Jarno in the process, and certainly proved he was the faster and more consistent driver over a race distance. I’m not saying Alonso is head-and-shoulders above the rest, just maybe a forehead above. I am by no means saying that that won’t change with more experience on Vettel’s part, as has been my line throughout.
17th December 2013, 19:33
“I feel very uncomfortable about mentioning Vettel in the same sentence of such great names, because, frankly, all he has proven so far it that he can get the maximum from a car that is to his liking. ”
pff… people seem to forget that Vettel won pole and a race in a Toro Rosso. i really don’t undertand this guys. “oh he isn’t a great driver, it’s the car!” c’mon, you can actually see how he have grown as a driver, you can see the stats and understand that he IS a great driver. Stop Hating the guy because he is better than anyone else right now. in fact, i do remember how most people hated Ayrton Senna back in the day and now he is the greatest driver in history…. just, Stop. watch and accept the facts.
18th December 2013, 8:51
If you want me to accept the facts then I’m going to consider the fact that Bourdais qualified fourth for the 2008 Italian GP, and that even though he stalled on the grid, he would have easily had the pace to make it a Toro Rosso 1-2. And then I may of course have to accept the fact that on his 2013 Singapore pole lap, Vettel was full-throttle thirty meters earlier than Rosberg out of T3. To disregard the car in modern F1 is just fanciful.
18th December 2013, 9:25
Revisionist history at it’s finest here.
FACT: Vettel’s Monza 2008 performance was achieved with a dry weather set-up.
FACT: the popular claim about Singapore is “20 meters”, but I’m sure by this time next year, we’ll hear how Vettel never even had to lift at all. Other fact: being able to go on the throttle “x meters early” says as much about overall pace as a car’s top speed, these kind of oversimplifications are unworthy of anyone claiming to be a fanatic of the sports. Also fact, this claim has never actually been verified, it just makes for easy headlines.
These sort of simplistic one-liners being thrown around as facts are ridiculous.
18th December 2013, 9:29
What!! You use the word facts, then make conjecture that Bourdais would “easily” make it a 1 2 !!!
there is conjecture that there is a dust cart driver in South America who has all the necessary skills to be a wdc. The facts are he isn’t so it’s irrelevant. This point was made by the late Dennis Jenkinson….50 years ago
18th December 2013, 10:02
@mnmracer – Spare me. You know as well as I that the difference between a wet and dry setup is minimal, and with a car that has a smaller optimal downforce output, like the STR3, they would be running a maximum downforce package much of the time anyway. Yes, Vettel was full-throttle 20 meters earlier through most corners compared to Rosberg, but at T3 it was approximately 30 because Rosberg got a touch of oversteer. I saw a side-by-side on YouTube once, you should check it out. I am not referencing that as a statement of the car’s overall performance, just the fact that its driveable throttle maps and excellent traction are yet another favourable attribute. I could also have examined apex speed in T3 of Abu Dhabi, or braking points in T3 in Korea, but I didn’t. But historical revisionism? Really? Spare me the GCSE history throwaways. Revisionism is not simply denial, as you seen to be characterizing it as. It is the alteration of events by an authoritative third-party, often political or imperial victors, with the use of propaganda as means to impose an ideology onto a society that is resistant to it. In other words, I’m not Chairman Mao. Now, my degree is not Politics, not History, but even I can see that that “simplistic one-liner” is not relevant here.
@antonyob – I promise you that that’s a fact, despite the fact that it sounds improbable. Brundle was noting Bourdais’ excellent pace throughout the race, and at one point Bourdais set the fastest lap of the race before Vettel went faster. Do you have Sky F1? I think they’re repeating the 2008 Italian GP sometime this week.
18th December 2013, 10:29
*typo* …my degree is on Politics, not History…
V. Chris (@vasschu)
18th December 2013, 12:28
Vettel was 1 second faster than Bourdais in qually, you know? Also do you remember who set the fastest lap in the Spanish GP 2013 – Gutierrez. I guess Sauber should have won 1-2 this race, right?
18th December 2013, 12:53
@vasschu – I would certainly hope that a four-time champion is at least a second clear of someone of such blinding mediocrity as Bourdais! And you know as well as I that Gutierrez’s lap on the options tyres at the end of the race has nothing to do with two Toro Rossos in the wet in Monza that are going just too fast for it to be a coincidence.
V. Chris (@vasschu)
18th December 2013, 14:17
I am sorry but you need to back your claims with little more data. One fast lap means nothing in the era of refueling. It means as much as setting fast lap at the end of the race with option tyres. I wouldn’t go right now to dig in wikipedia for facts from the race, but as far as i remeber Bourdais was one of the last cars and he was one lap behind Seb. He was second slower in the qualification. If he was capable of putting this car on p2, i am sure he at least should have scored some points, despite the engine failure.
18th December 2013, 15:19
@vasschu – I’m not just commenting on one lap, I’m commenting on Bourdais’ pace more broadly. Brundle was noting Bourdais’ good pace throughout the race, if I remember correctly, he did say after the race that Bourdais looked quick enough to make it a Toro Rosso 1-2. I can’t remember Bourdais’ race in detail, but I can remember Brundle saying that on the repeat of the 2008 Italian GP Sky showed before this year’s Italian GP. Sky are showing loads of repeats of classic grands prix at the moment, so maybe it’ll be on this week.
18th December 2013, 16:40
Can we put to rest the canard using Bourdais to marginalize Vettel’s win? The win is only one metric. Look at the season as a whole. Vettel had 9 points finishes to Bourdais’ 2. Look at the way both finished the season after Monza: SV – 5, 6, 9, 4; SB 12, 10, 13, 14. As for the win, one of the more impressive things is that he didn’t bin it. Look at Hulkenberg last year in Brazil, he really should have won the race, P2 at the minimum, but he did collide with Lewis, and while the penalty was harsh (it was more a racing incident), it shouldn’t have happened.
Vettel had 35 points in 2008, more than both Red Bulls drivers and Bourdais combined. And he was only 21 years old. At Monaco, he qualified 18th, but finished P5 (if any driver did that today they’d be hailed as the second coming).
As for the car / driver combo, one of the reasons Webber says that Vettel is favored for next year is because of all the driver management that needs to happen (tire management, lap times, etc.) and that is Vettel’s strength. One thing Brundle points out, is the amount of excess mental capacity that Vettel and Alonso have when driving. It’s easy to forget how difficult these cars are to drive, but there are times when we get radio messages from Hamilton (or Button) etc saying things like “don’t talk to me in a corner”.
I get your point that crowning Vettel the best ever is premature. But thou protest too much to say that he isn’t one of the best drivers on the grid today, at the minimum equal with Hamilton and Alonso.
19th December 2013, 0:00
Ok so Vettel’s Toro Rosso was a rocket ship as Bourdais qualified 4th but the hidden fact is Bourdais was 4th but 1 sec behind Vettel!
Kovalainen in the title winning car was not close as well!
Please so if I see the Ferrrari as a good car am not wrong as Massa was just a couple of tenths of Vettel in Malaysia in 2nd place!
19th December 2013, 15:15
@uan – You make excellent, and very relevant points. As I have been trying to point out is that Vettel’s 2008 Monza win is not a mirror of Senna’s Toleman P2 at Monaco in 1984. The car was genuinely quick, but I believe that his Monaco drive was much better, although his 2008 wet weather form was rather let down by a frankly overdue spin into retirement at Silverstone. The thing that marked Vettel out in 2008 was not so much speed, but maturity, and it was that that saw him as an avid points scorer.
Again, you make an excellent point regarding mental capacity, which would certainly mark Vettel out, but the prevalence of throttle modulation next year and Vettel’s utter brilliance at modulating the throttle is what I think Webber was referring to. But the tyre compounds are, if we are to believe Pirelli, going to have Bridgestone levels of durability, so Vettel isn’t going to have to think about that. What he will have to think about is how that might unleash the potentially devastating pace of Hamilton, who is unquestionably the fastest guy out there, and my 2014 championship favourite.
Vettel doesn’t deserve reverence, yet. Once he has beaten Alonso and Hamilton on equal terms, then I shall doff my hat, but right now there are just too many occasions of Vettel not having to extract the maximum from his car in order to win, and as a crusty old F1 fan, I find that a rather sour taste in the mouth when I think of all simply spell-bounding drives I witnessed completely on the ragged edge. And that’s I support the only man that really leaves me spell-bound nowadays. Alonso has a fevered intensity to his style, and at times it almost seems as if there is a touch of magic dust on his fingertips. Vettel is good, but he’s not Alonso standard yet.
31st December 2013, 21:53
Coulthard tapped the rear of his car, spinning both cars out.
16th February 2020, 22:41
When have Hamilton or Alonso ever won in a car as bad as the torro rosso Hamilton has had the most dominant machinery the sport has ever seen and he still couldn’t match sebs record of 13 wins in a season
17th December 2013, 20:26
@william-brierty Alonso was rated the best last year after Vettel dominated in 2011 and won the TP vote. So I think it’s fair to say he’s the world’s best driver. That’s what championships are all about.
I guess he will have proven himself in your eyes by 2016 once he starts wearing red ;) – so far he just set the fastest time in his first Friday session for BMW scored points in his first race in 07 and finished ahead of his team-mate who had half a season head-start. Went on to win a race in 08 and outscored not only his team-mate but both RB drivers, putting TR ahead of RB single-handedly – then he became runner-up in his first season at a top team and continued to win 4 WDCs and 4 WCCs consecutively, smashing numerous long-standing records along the way.
I get why people don’t like him and why they don’t want to acknowledge his achievements, but at some point you gotta admit that we are witnessing a great driver – just like it was obvious early in ALOs career that he’s gonna be one of the greatest. ALO and VET are on a level nobody else comes close to right now and neither one has to proof anything, imo.
18th December 2013, 8:43
@tmf42 – I refute the claim the championships are about finding the best driver, just look at Button in 2009, it’s not a formula where a driver has much input any more, so I would certainly suggest it is a framework designed to pivot around the strength of the driver-team bond. I would say that is arguably portrayed by the way Alonso lost what should have been a relatively comfortable championship in 2007 through a quarrel with the team, and it is in that respect that Red Bull are strong. The #1 driver model, whilst unpopular, works, and by building a car for Vettel each year they have managed to extract his full potential. I doff my hat to them.
I would also refute the suggestion that he caused much in the way of bow-waves on his way to Red Bull. Perhaps he might have had his rise not coincided with that of Hamilton, but I certainly think even after his Monza win and impressive, yet not overtly outstanding results he got in the junior categories, he was not considered on Hamilton’s level. And let’s not forget the fact that Bourdais qualified fourth for that race, and had he not stalled on the grid, his race pace was easily good enough to make it a Toro Rosso 1-2. Bourdais’ frequent strong performances certainly suggest that it was a decent car, and certainly the equal of the BMW Sauber after their mid-season tail-off. Talking of BMW Sauber, Nick Heidfeld retired from the 2007 US GP whilst comfortably heading Vettel, so the fact that Vettel finished ahead of him is hardly a great accolade.
I completely admit he’s a great racing driver, but I just have a gut feeling about Fernando Alonso. I see something of the bad old Schumacher in him from the ’90s, equipped with unquestionably the finest racing brain out there. In essence, the general premise of my argument is that Sebastian Vettel’s short career at the front of the grid means he hasn’t had to motivate a floundering team, or get the most out of a poor car. He has also developed some incredibly specific skills, such as managing the exhaust blown diffuser and the option Pirelli tyres, so it seems logical to me to say that the skills at his disposal don’t have the breadth of a driver like Fernando. Doesn’t mean further experience won’t change that…
p.s. I’d be cautious about saying Alonso and Vettel are on a completely different level, because although that is unquestionably the case in the 2011-3 era, I would advise you to keep your eyes on Hamilton, a driver that most people regarded as the best in 2010, if Pirellis do really go as conservative as they claim they are.
18th December 2013, 9:17
A popular myth that for some reason and little else.
But I’m sure Newey will dispel it again next year, only for people to again ignore it.
18th December 2013, 10:25
@mnmracer – For the sake of consistency at least, it’d be useful if you didn’t partake in the somewhat altered notion of “historical revisionism” you accuse me of. Webber and Vettel have very different driving styles. So whilst Webber was happy with “pointy” early specs of RB8, Vettel struggled with the rear instability. Vettel has an almost counter-intuitive driving style, which he has developed in tandem with the exhaust blown diffuser. He brakes quite early, before smashing the throttle mid-corner, energizing the rear end, rotating the car through the corner, but always with the rear grip and heavy front end needed to prevent a slide and to get a perfect exit. Webber by contrast struggles with a front-limited car, and the rear end update brought to the 2012 European GP hurt his 2012 campaign. Because Webber and Vettel drive so differently, the team can only fully support one in terms of balance development. Cars inherently develop balances through the distribution of focus on each end of the chassis, and Vettel’s car tend to have more rear-end development than front. But of course, continue to believe everything the team says about favouritism, I’m sure you did in the scarlet years.
18th December 2013, 13:50
@william-brierty I’m staying out of your favoritism debate, but I have to disagree with your assessment of their styles.
Vettel’s struggle in 2012 was in fact due to understeer. With the tunnels working intermittently, the early-2012 RB8 had to be set up with extra stability in mind, leading to understeer which Vettel struggled with. Webber was very at home with this. Further proof that it was understeer he struggled with, was the races. Vettel was still more competitive in the races – because the Pirelli rears lost the edge before the fronts, which countered the understeer balance of the chassis.
When the Bahrain update came, then Vettel no longer had to worry about stabilising the rear using excess understeer – and so could use oversteer to rotate the car into corners, then mashing the throttle to kill the slide (the sudden increase in exhaust gases increased rear downforce). Webber couldn’t adapt to that.
Note how Webber always prefers the harder tyres to the softer tyre of any combo, even medium and hard. On option tyres cars become more rear-limited, because they can turn in harder, which abuses the rears by the amount of stability they have to provide. On the harder tyres, this is less of an issue as the turn in will be less aggressive.
Vettel’s style uses trail braking heavily to load the fronts and transfer weight off the rears – which he uses to start the slide for a quicker car rotation, then use the exhaust gas to kill that slide. Webber tends to carry more speed through the corner, which is why stability helps him, and why he is a match for Vettel in high speed bends, whereas he isn’t a match for Vettel in rear-limited, slow corners.
To sum up with a Webber quote on why he had a better 2010 than 2009…
18th December 2013, 14:08
If you want to call Adrian Newey a liar to push your own agenda, don’t drag me into it.
18th December 2013, 15:06
@raymondu999 – I’m not sure about that analysis. Beyond the fact that Vettel was stronger in the races in 2012, which may simply be an illustration of the way the RB8 maintained its tyres, I fail to see any proof of struggles with understeer. My abiding memory of Vettel’s early 2012 form is of struggles with oversteer, especially in qualifying. In China he can be seen turning later than would be optimal on his fastest qualifying lap, as Davidson explained on the Skypad, due to an unstable rear under breaking and turn-in. And more broadly, Vettel can be seen on the throttle on, and sometimes even before the apex. Even with the exhaust blown effect, this is not possible without a front-limited car, as it would simply kick the car into an oversteer slide. By necessity more than choice, Vettel specs understeer for qualifying.
It also have issue with saying that options tyres create oversteer and primes create understeer. That is far too simplistic, because the only way tyres should logically effect balance is through the distribution of tyre temperature; cold fronts and hot rears will give a driver understeer, and hot fronts and cold rears oversteer. The only way I’d respond to Webber’s struggles with the options is by saying he is either under-heating or over-heating his rears, and Vettel is certainly better at maintaining both fronts and rears in a sound temperature window, which often makes him appear to have a far superior balance in qualifying.
You have definitely misinterpreted Webber’s driving style though. Webber is traditionally strong at front-limited racetracks, such as Silverstone, Barcelona, Monaco, Suzuka and the Nurburgring; tracks that punish a car that understeers. You say, correctly, that Webber tends to take more speed into a corner than Vettel, and whilst some of that is because Vettel likes to arrive at the corner apex with a neutral car, it is because Webber tends to spec more front wing than Vettel. Even in recent races we’ve heard him asking for more front end during races. Webber doesn’t take more speed into a corner than Vettel, and then understeer into the barrier on the other side of the track; he uses an aggressive turn-in to rotate the rear end slightly before he scopes it up with a boot of throttle. That is how Webber has driven his entire career. Where did you get that quote?
@mnmracer – For my sanity, I wholly encourage you keep on taking everything team personnel say at face value, whilst the rest of us take everything with a pinch of salt knowing that a team can’t appease a team in which the drivers want the car to do different things.
18th December 2013, 15:40
Yes, let’s question the guy in charge of designing the car (which is what we’re talking about) and instead take at face value something which has no factual basis whatsoever.
19th December 2013, 0:22
You misunderstood me. Early 2012, Webber was kicking Vettel’s ass in quali, but Vettel could still match him in the races – a clear sign that as the balance shifts away from understeer and towards oversteer, Vettel rises to match Webber, or even better him.
It is true that Webber is good at front-limited circuits – but we also have to remember that on front limited circuits, balance will invariably shift towards more understeer as the race goes on. These tracks punish a car that understeers (every track does) but it punishes even more a car that oversteers – because you’d rather run wide than spin out at 250kph.
Take it from a former race engineer (me) – Vettel’s being earlier on the throttle than Webber in this case cannot be drawn to any conclusions, purely because of the odd vehicle dynamics the exhaust creates. If anything, Vettel is the one that actively uses oversteer in the slow corners, before bashing the throttle in to kill the slide.
It should be noted though that Vettel always takes less speed into corners, and gets rotation out of the way quicker, then getting a quicker exit, more indicative of a late apex line.
Or are you saying that Webber is lying about the differences between him and Vettel’s driving? That quote first appeared in Autosport, and later on in many other publications. You could google it and get hundreds of results… All telling the world of Webber not liking oversteer.
And if Webber has always scooped a sliding car up with a boot of throttle – he’d have done wonders in the exhaust era because of the way it takes advantage of the downforce. Except he didn’t – clearly showing he didn’t drive like that “his entire career”
19th December 2013, 17:25
@mnmracer – Yes, let’s assume that every team tells their entire agenda to the media, including balance development favouritism because of course they’d love some of the hassle Ferrari got in the Schumacher days. Fans have looking for an excuse to say that Red Bull has been ruining Webber’s campaigns for years, so admitting that they have giving Vettel the nice stable rear end he needs might be a bit counter-intuitive. It is a factual certainty that Red Bull favour Vettel over Webber in terms of balance development, because a) it is logical looking at their respected performances and b) it is not possible to develop a car that both inherently understeers and inherently oversteers. And really, if you are so profoundly in opposition to my perspective, then could you please lend an insightful rebuckle with an either factual or theoretical basis, not just playground insults based on GSCE history throwaways.
@raymondu999 – I find it rather impossible to swallow the notion that you’re a former race engineer (what’s your name, if you were, I will have heard of you…I fact I’ve probably met you) if your initial point is based on the assumption that race conditions produce oversteer, because, at front-limited circuits like India or especially Korea, the complete opposite is the case, and it’s equally remarkable that you admit that in the next paragraph.
At an infamously front-limited track, say Korea, the teams deploy an oversteer qualifying balance with the view that the increased front wear throughout the stint will minimize understeer by the end. This has tended to play into the hands of drivers like Hamilton and Webber, who enjoy and maximize the oversteer qualifying balance, and don’t find themselves with arm fulls of understeer come the race, although as Hamilton proved this year, it is still possible to push too hard and to end up with a bald front tyre.
But you have certainly misinterpreted how I view Vettel’s driving style. I don’t at all think Vettel, like Button, can’t cope with oversteer and instead prefers understeer, quite the opposite. Vettel is brilliant at turning the car on the throttle, as proved in the little buggy at last year’s Race of Champions, but in an F1 car it tends not to be helpful to light up the rear axel all that overtly. So in order to maintain forward momentum whilst turning the car on the throttle and maximizing that rear downforce, Vettel is forced to dial a touch of understeer into the car. And because this “turning the car on the throttle” business depends so heavily on rear downforce so not to fully slide the car, Vettel, as proved in early 2012, is prone to struggle without it. In the junior categories, especially in F3, Vettel used to set the car up as “pointy” and then turn the car on the throttle throughout the race, but turning an F1 car on the throttle that is already oversteery tends simply to end in a spin and not befitting of the brilliant exits he was used to lower down the ladder, as I’m sure Vettel found out in one of his 2006 tests. Sorry, I may not have explained that fully in previous posts.
If you can check out Webber’s 2011 Nurburgring pole, you’ll notice that in the low speed Webber chucks the front at the apex and it is the small amount of rear slip, or “lift off oversteer” that turns the car, but you’ll also notice, if you can get hold of Hamilton’s P2 lap, that it subsequently takes a further hesitation before he gets on the throttle, i.e. once the slide is corrected by the forward momentum, and this is where Vettel’s massive low speed advantage lies, and why Hamilton was comfortably purple in that sector. Certainly, this style is not compatible with pronounced oversteer, because by turning in with a light rear end, the back won’t “slip” as Webber likes, it’ll just slide and require an arm-full of corrective lock. I would imagine that is what Webber has been talking about with regards to oversteer issues, because it is very unusual, unless you are Button, Alonso or Massa, not to use the incredibly useful balance that is oversteer as a means to turn the car. However, I do know that even though the exhaust gases help fix the rear end, Webber has driven his entire career with an aggressive turn-in and subsequent lift-off oversteer, but finding that small amount of rear slip in the inconsistent Pirellis era, and with the exhaust blown diffuser has proven difficult for Mark. Finding, in essence, a small amount of oversteer, and maintaining that throughout the race, especially on rear-limited tracks (where Webber has been struggling), so that it doesn’t transition into “proper” oversteer has seen Webber’s form plummet in the Pirellia/degradation era. Balance inconsistency, if you are looking for a specific balance, is a bad thing, and this has the seen the constant, if subtle, front-wing adjustments seen in Webber’s stops.
I’m sorry if I didn’t explain that adequately previously.
19th December 2013, 17:51
How about you look up the meaning of the word fact first before you embarrass yourself more.
The undeniable set in stone fact that you are ((ind)directly) calling Adrian Newey a liar and the undeniable set in stone fact that you keep presenting your own mere theory as facts, is laughable and makes you nothing more than a sad liar. You should be ashamed of the deceitful way you conduct yourself all in an effort to push your fact ignoring agenda.
20th December 2013, 8:37
@mnmracer – Fact: a certainty that can proven with either empirical or theoretical means. It is a certainty, unless you are a designer of greater acumen than Newey, that a car cannot be developed to suit both of hugely different driving styles of Webber and Vettel. How can we prove that? It’s a physical impossibility. Its logical, if not certain, to proceed from that conclusion by saying that cars have been developed to suit Vettel, but of course, it is possible if not remotely plausible that they’ve been built for Webber. However, what is staggering is that you cite a fact as undeniable. Boullier denied that Raikkonen was leaving Lotus before the Italian GP, just after he’d signed for Ferrari as was later revealed. Denying a fact doesn’t make it not a fact.
I’m beginning to release that I’m talking to an individual that is somewhat academically challenged, although to your credit, it appears you have at least attempted GCSE history. But subsequently, questions must raised over an individual if that individual spends his time getting kicks out of throwing playground insults dressed in the throwaways of academic critique at someone who is arguing a perfectly plausible line. You have said nothing. You have lent no insight, no empirical reference, no theoretical argument, no facts. You have reduced an excellent debate to a mere argument. But you have no argument, no line or insight to argue. If you do reply, it’ll be sheerly out of an irrational desperation to have the last word. I have pity on you.
20th December 2013, 8:39
If all you can think of in terms of design is “it is built to suit driver X or Y”, instead of accepting Neweys on words that he has done what he has always done, that is, “built the fastest car and it is up to the drivers to make it work”, I’m afraid you are the challenged individual here.
17th December 2013, 22:43
@william-brierty “however I feel compelled to not simply translate the stats into a driver ranking; F1 is more complicated than that.”
So who would your number 1 driver of 2013 be?
18th December 2013, 8:09
@uan – Sebastian Vettel, but just because he performed better than anyone else in 2013, it doesn’t mean he automatically becomes the best driver on the grid. Jenson Button unquestionably drove the best of the all the drivers in 2009, but were we subsequently thinking that he was better than Alonso and Hamilton in 2009? No. I apologize, I may not have articulated my initial point as well as I might have.
Tommy C (@tommy-c)
18th December 2013, 10:07
If Button had gone on to win the championship in 2010, 2011 and 2012, then yes, I think a lot of people would consider him one of the greatest.
18th December 2013, 10:27
@tommy-c – Yes, and so would I, because he would’ve soundly beaten a magnificent driver in Lewis Hamilton for three seasons on the bounce.
18th December 2013, 0:02
A 23 year old grew up?
Doesn’t take a master’s degree in psychology to answer that question.
18th December 2013, 8:00
@mnmracer – Doesnâ€™t take a masterâ€™s degree in psychology to recognize the fact that you’ve rather missed the point.
18th December 2013, 5:04
@william-brierty Great comment – this is one of the only Vettel critiques I can remember reading which is based on actual insight. In spite of being a Vettel supporter, I agree with most of what you wrote.
My only challenge is that, as you point out, Vettel adapted his driving style to suit the aerodynamic properties of the car and how these affected his cornering and use of the throttle. This adaptation was not a simple task – as demonstrated by Webber’s performance in the same car. While you are correct to observe that Vettel has not yet been given a poor car during his tenure at Red Bull, he was given a car which required adaptation and skill to master. Therefore, I think it unlikely that he will struggle in the future. If he has proven anything, he has proven himself to be a resourceful and quick learner who is mercilessly quick.
Signed, a Vettel fanboy
18th December 2013, 12:44
@pandaslap – Thank you, it’s nice to know that people are capable of understanding an alternate perspective, something especially note-worthy if you read the comments from some of the gibbons above!
I would argue not that Vettel’s driving style had to be adapted in accordance with a new aerodynamic approach, but that Vettel’s driving style has in itself been sculpted by the immense rear downforce of the cars he’s been driving. Vettel always used to rotate the car on throttle, and did so throughout the junior categories, but upon meeting the RB5 and all of its rear grip, Vettel didn’t slide the car through the corner apex, more as “roll it”, with the rear downforce and front-limited setup he tends to specify there to prevent a slide thus making excellent exits possible.
I think it is valid to say that circumstance came to Vettel, not the other way round. In 2011 skills that he already had were brought into greater acclaim by the exhaust blown diffuser and the Pirelli tyres. But yes, that doesn’t cater for his 2010 championship win, so it certainly seems reasonable to argue that he is a quick learner, something even I wouldn’t argue against.
19th December 2013, 0:13
So wat exactly is your argument it seems mainly gibberish you are arguing here, you say he has adapted his skills to current car then say that doesn’t validate him as the best driver what then validates him?
If he can adapt to be so devastatingly quick then its more problems for the competitors!
17th December 2013, 11:07
Well said :)
Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
17th December 2013, 11:15
I’m no Vettel fan, but he did an amazing job this year, did he have the best car, by a mile yes, but he did push it to the limit, like in Singapore. A great job, his best WDC by a long way.
17th December 2013, 11:19
Just like Alonso was without doubt the no.1 driver last year, this year it was without doubt Vettel.
His driving is sublime. And he continuously keeps improving. We are lucky to watch him race live..
17th December 2013, 11:23
Can’t argue with that, he was absolutely head and shoulders above everyone this year.
17th December 2013, 11:24
Best car or not, being able to maximise it still takes an extraordiary talent
I can’t wait for the day more people realise how special it was to witness a talent like Vettel at his absolute prime…
17th December 2013, 13:17
That says it all really.
17th December 2013, 11:46
17th December 2013, 16:14
Indeed. This year Vettel really showed he was best when the car was best, but also right there when he was a bit on his back foot. His best season so far, although I am sure he will be back even better next year.
17th December 2013, 12:15
The tyre change ruined the season from a competitive and even fair point of view. But what was done needed to be done.
But you take advantage of the hand that you are given and he did exactly that better than anyone else. 9 wins in a row is incredible no matter what.
17th December 2013, 13:38
Seb was the best driver in the first half of the season when the car was more or less in the same league as Merc, Ferrari, Lotus and that was impressive for me, much more then 9 in a row later.
17th December 2013, 13:47
No doubt Seb was nr 1 this year. Well deserved.
17th December 2013, 14:19
Not surprised at all really. He destroyed everyone this year, especially in the second half of the season.
17th December 2013, 14:23
I dont think he did have the best car, certainly not all the time or Webber wouldve won at least one race and followed Seb home in the rest. Hes the most adaptable driver on the grid and probably the most intelligent. Hes lightening quick and he makes few mistakes. I think hes already better than Schumacher, Prost and Senna. Id put him up with Fangio and Clark and they may fall to him over the next few years.
This “best car” is a myth. He won in a Torro Rosso and he wins when his team mate cannot. He’s the complete package and a nice guy but he’s no-ones patsy. furthermore Webber did the same to him but gets away with it (why?)and in any case that multi 21 move was the move of the season.
Rubbish guitar player…
18th December 2013, 5:11
@antonyob He needs to learn more than one song.
17th December 2013, 15:33
While seb had the best car he was also the best driver. It is very doubtful if vettel was replaced by max chilton for example that webber could have been able to win the dwc in the same car this year. RBR had the best driver and the best car. How much better the rbr was compared to the rest is obvious when you look at webber. It was vettel who made the critical bit of difference and not the car.
17th December 2013, 15:37
Undoubtedly the driver who unrelentingly achieved the most with his machinery. What works against Vettel in the popularity/recognition department is that he and his team are dominating an era in F1 that is roundly discounted as sub-par in terms of ‘pure’ racing (by myself included). He has put his stamp on the sport for good, but oh how much more interesting it would be to see him duke it out with the other top-flight guys in equal cars and without DRS and bullspit tyre rules – sigh.
17th December 2013, 16:00
In an era with Alonso and Hamilton….
David not Coulthard (@)
17th December 2013, 16:51
And it had a great finale as well – as a Vettel fan (since 2009) it was lovely.
17th December 2013, 16:29
Oh what i would’ve loved Alonso to join Redbull. That would’ve been epic. This season, Vettel has totally crushed his rivals and been the best no doubt.
17th December 2013, 17:09
Alonso can pull a Senna offer to drive for Redbull for free to be in the so called “best car” also had the chance to go there in 08 refused then Newey was not seen as the be all and end all of aerodynamics!
18th December 2013, 5:52
Alonso will never go to a team with Vettel there, that’s the difference between Senna and Alonso.
Craig Woollard (@craig-o)
17th December 2013, 16:56
Vettel simply was better this season than in the last few seasons whereas his rivals were not, and made mistakes. Vettel didn’t make a single race ending mistake all season.
We are looking at one of the greatest here. On a different level to Raikkonen, Hamilton, Alonso and Webber. He is arguably complete as a driver. He has the lot. Yes he has the best car but the best drivers mentally and in talent are always in the best car and that is why they are so successful. However unlike some dominant combinations in the past, unlike the MP4-4, the car wasn’t three seconds quicker than the next car. That almost makes me want to say Vettel could become the greatest.
17th December 2013, 21:22
I think more and more people are beginning to begrudgingly accept the fact that Vettel, like it or not, is THE driver of this era.
Max Jacobson (@vettel1)
17th December 2013, 16:59
His worst race this year I feel was Hungary. He finished 3rd.
That pretty much summarises his season: unmatchable consistency and a run of dominance unmatched by any in the history of F1.
Consistent speed won Alonso this poll last year: likewise, it has won Vettel it this year.
Craig Woollard (@craig-o)
17th December 2013, 17:05
I completely agree @vettel1 , Hungary was really his only off-weekend, but was simply unstoppable all season. Rarely put a foot wrong.
Max Jacobson (@vettel1)
17th December 2013, 17:33
@craig-o as he noted at the Autosport Awards, he made a mistake in qualifying without which he could’ve been on pole.
His race wasn’t stellar either but his car also lacked the top speed which would allow him to overtake, a problem Hamilton didn’t have. And he lacked the tyre conserving ability of the Lotuses.
So really, 3rd was a decent performance. Stressing the fact that arguably that was his worst race!
17th December 2013, 18:01
What completely seals the deal in this is not that Vettel won 9 races in a row, it is that he was still in possession of a healthy championship lead before mid season, when Mercedes had the faster car and Ferrari and Lotus had the better race pace.
His form seemed to be on god mode the whole season, which was rather impressive I think.
17th December 2013, 19:48
Sri Harsha (@harsha)
18th December 2013, 7:55
Well Deserved Ranking and the Strongest Championship year of SV so far.
He was learning things and getting better and better.
18th December 2013, 8:58
There’s just such an easy answer to any doubters of Vettel or any “only cos he had the best car” merchants:
Webber, webber webber, what about webber? A battle hardened quick race winner was nowhere this season, in terms of the wdc or winning a single race.
18th December 2013, 10:57
webber is old grandad, got beaten with teams help over years, got enough and finally quit.
23rd December 2013, 6:12
You say Webber is very good. How would Hamilton or Alonso do in a Red Bull alongside Vettel?
31st December 2013, 21:58
They would finish P2 in the championship.
21st December 2013, 10:02
For all those Vettel fans, I have just one question. How would he do if either Hamilton or Alonso were driving a Red Bull alongside him? If you think he would dominate them, you don’t know what you are talking about. If you think that either or both would beat Vettel, then he is not the greatest. If you are not sure, then his is still not the greatest. Webber was a good driver, but far from the elite class. He is 37, way past his prime, and was the worst starter on the grid. At best, he is the 10th best driver in F1.
31st December 2013, 22:01
It doesn’t have to be one extreme or another.
In 2013, Vettel clearly extracted more performance from his car than either Hamilton or Alonso did. Therefore in my opinion, and a lot of others, including the team bosses, he was the best driver of this year. So if Hamilton or Alonso were in the Red Bull RB9, neither would be dominated like Webber, but neither would beat Vettel.
2nd January 2014, 1:41
Of Vettel, Alonso or Hamilton. Let’s compare their teammates. Vettel has had Liuzzi, Bourdais and Webber(who is 11 years older than Vettel). Alonso has had Fisichella, Piquet, young Grosjean and Massa. Webber ten years ago would have been a much tougher teammate against Vettel. If you are saying that Webber at 37 is at his peak that is nonsense. Alonso has only had one tough teammate in his career. How did he react to having a great teammate, like Hamilton? Hamilton’s teammates so far: Alonso, Kovalainen, Button and Rosberg. Hamilton’s teammates blows the others away. As a Hamilton fan I can say that if he was beating a 37 year-old, that would mean nothing to me. Him beating Alonso, Button and Rosberg says alot. Results look better when you have weak teammates. Hamilton has been a part of the best driver pairing in 5 of his 7 years. Winning in F1 only means something if your teammate is an elite driver! Prediction: Vettel will go his entire career and never have a teammate that is on the elite level!
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