Vettel feels emotion of Schumacher connection

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Michael Schumacher was on Sebastian Vettel’s mind after the Ferrari driver scored his first win for the team in Malaysia today.

Vettel is close to the seven-times world champion, who enjoyed his greatest F1 successes with Ferrari between 1996 and 2006. Schumacher suffered serious head injures in a skiing accident at the end of 2013.

Vettel has been described as Schumacher’s successor following his move to the team this year, and said winning for them had been his dream.

“When I grew up, Michael was my hero and for all of us – and I speak for all of the kids at the go`kart track at the time in Germany – we were looking up to him and when he turned up every year and to look after us a little bit, it made our lives.

“So, that’s why I think today I probably don’t understand yet how special it is. Very, very emotional.”

Vettel took only two races to score his first victory with Ferrari, but he believes the team is in a stronger position now than when Schumacher joined it.

“I don’t think his car in ’96 was as good as our car this year,” said Vettel. “And I think if we could get anywhere close to – and I’m speaking for the whole team, I’m speaking for both drivers – if we could get anywhere close to the victories he had with Ferrari then we’d be in a very, very good place.”

Schumacher had left “very large footsteps”, said Vettel, “but the target is not to fill those, the target is ideally to leave some new ones”.

Vettel added he was “especially proud” to have beaten Mercedes “because they have been phenomenally strong the last year and a bit”.

“So to be the first one to beat them really fair and square, I think is an incredible achievement, so big thanks to all the guys back in Maranello.”

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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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    41 comments on “Vettel feels emotion of Schumacher connection”

    1. @ Keith Collantine “Schumacher was suffered”?

    2. “So to be the first one to beat them really fair and square, I think is an incredible achievement, so big thanks to all the guys back in Maranello.”

      So is he implying that Ricciardo cheated his way to victory last season?

      1. @davef1 No, he means they’re the first to beat them without Mercedes having a technical issue.

      2. @davef1 – No, that Mercedes needed mechanical failures & crashes to lose last year.

      3. No? More like beating the Mercedes on merit – ie car/driver combination rather than reliability issues/penalties which hit Lewis/Mercedes

      4. He is giving a full of emotional quotes stament, I doubt he has time to think in Ricciardo…

      5. @davef1 No. Ricciardo won three races last year, but it was always because Mercedes did something wrong – unreliability, the Spa crash, rain.

        Vettel won more or less on merit today, simply because he was faster than Hamilton and Rosberg.

        1. I can’t understand why so many people tend to see the black-side of every word-achievement said or made by Vettel. Thanks @davef1 for your clarification people like to forget the circumstances. Of course I can’t suggest thar Ricciardo victories were a meater of luck because is just silly to think that in F-1 you get things by pure luck.

    3. Today’s race, as brilliant as it was, did rather poignantly point out the two paddock absentees having been injured since Vettel’s last win. In Jules we have a young man who was starting to threaten the flying Finn’s grip on his seat, and in Michael we have the inspiration behind today’s win.

      #ForzaJules #KeepFightingMichael

      1. Jules was always the one to replace Kimi when his contract ends at the end of 2015 (this season). Since that’s unlikely now I wonder why the “who’s coming to Ferrari?” stories haven’t been brought up yet.

        But I doubt Ferrari will go for somebody like Lewis or offer Fernando a comeback, the team has found its “golden boy” Sebastian Vettel and they will likely try to build their success around him, you know, making the next Micheal Schumacher.

        So Ferrari is looking for someone like Rubens of the old days, always getting out of the way for the main driver, that’s how the team operates. Both Nico seems to fit the description, my bet is on Hulkenberg at Ferrari for 2016

        1. @ducpham2708 – Indeed, Ferrari have their “rooster”, Alonso and Hamilton aren’t of much interest. In terms of the inevitable Raikkonen replacement, there are three candidates to my eye.

          Bottas is probably the most likely candidate, but he equally might feel well-placed to succeed either Mercedes driver. Hulkenberg is another candidate, but he needs to refind his form from early in 2014 and late 2013, but Ferrari aren’t stupid: they know his quiet on-track performances of the past half season is more of an indication of a floundering Force India. An outside bet would be Marciello, but he will need several seasons to mature, and Raikkonen might not be around that long.

          A popular bet among the fans would be Ricciardo, but I can see Vettel blocking that move. And, as you say, Ferrari is looking for a supporting act for the Vettel show. Not that Valtteri and Nico especially fit that description, F1 is just too competitive these days…

          1. I see Gutiérrez in that race, for commercial reasons. And also because He’d be the Rubens to Vettel’s Schumacher.

            1. Amusing…

        2. @ducpham2708 I personally believe that Raikkonen will continue until the end of 2016, then be replaced by either Hulkenberg or Nasr. Hulkenberg because, well I think everyone knows. Nasr because he is quite quick, and would make a good Number 2. Ferrari have also poached Junior Sauber drivers (Massa) despite them not being worthy of a top seat.

    4. Schumacher had left “very large footsteps”, said Vettel, “but the target is not to fill those, the target is ideally to leave some new ones”.

      Vettel’s personality never ceases to amaze me. I’m also impressed every driver has a different outlook, Hamilton wants to emulate his hero, Alonso just wants to win, Vettel wants to match his hero his own way.

      1. That was a beautiful quote by him. A lot of people say he’s a brat, but I see a guy who loves the sport, grew up watching his hero and has a lot of admiration and respect for the drivers who have gone before him. I think he’s a classy guy.

        1. @colossal-squid – I doubt those that call him a brat have ever met him. I first met him ten years ago at the Lausitzring, and I have yet to meet a more normal, grounded, funny and lovely kid. Append mesmerizing on-track speed and one of the best racing brains in the business to that great personality, and a better ambassador for F1 you could not find.

          1. ResultantAsteroid
            29th March 2015, 19:14

            That is why I like this guy. It’s one thing to become world champion, but a totally another thing to stay modest. Over the years I noticed how he felt modest whenever he broke a long-time record by one of the greats. I forever remember him on India 2012 podium celebrations:
            Martin Brundle: “You’ve led every race, every lap for three consecutive races now. The last man to do that was the great Ayrton Senna in 1989, you’re in great company.”
            Sebastian Vettel (paused slightly, then responded very quietly with a humble, shy expression on his face): “Don’t say things like that! It’s very, very special. I think we all will remember Ayrton forever, not just because he was successful and he had these kinds of numbers speaking for him but he was a great person.”

          2. @countrygent Thank you for confirming the impression I get of the man through my tv. Glad to see someone who has met him weigh in.

            I completely agree, he’s a great ambassador of the sport and I put a lot of that down to the love he has for the sport that looks evident in many of his comments and interviews.

      2. Today Vettel was refreshingly open, vulnerable, emotional, candid, magnanimous (including his teammate in plans to return Ferrari to glory days), and thoughtful (what a philosophical and respectful quote about the footsteps). It seems over the last year he has matured significantly. Perhaps his struggles with the RB chassis last year and seeing the tragedy that can occur in life with his hero have given him perspective on the limitations all humans share and created gratitude and new motivation for pursuing the full expression of his own considerable gifts and fortunate circumstances. Humans can do wonderful things when such transformation occurs. Watch out for a new and better era — “Finger Boy” may have become a new man!

        1. @slowhands

          -Today Vettel was refreshingly open, vulnerable, emotional, candid, magnanimous (including his teammate in plans to return Ferrari to glory days), and thoughtful (what a philosophical and respectful quote about the footsteps).-

          Indeed. Vettel came across as genuinely open, emotional and thoughtful, both in the pre-podium waiting room and on the podium itself. I’ve never been a fan but the way he came across, immediately after the race, has turned me around.

          This wasn’t a PR-crafted response for the cameras; it was heartfelt, at least as far as I could tell. The bit of your comment I pasted in above sums up my thinking on Vettel.

          Granted, one race is only one race. However, if Seb and Kimi can maintain the pressure, we could be in for an exciting, 2015 F1 season.

    5. This is the first win for Ferrari engine in the new V6 turbo era :)

    6. I must admit seeing a German in red on the top step of the podium, hearing that combo of national anthems, and seeing the winner conducting the last few notes made me feel very happy indeed, but also very sad that the great man Schumacher couldn’t be there to see it in the flesh

      1. I got so used to hearing those anthems in that order during Michael’s many wins that anytime I hear the German anthem in any context whatsoever, my brain still expects the closing notes to be followed immediately by the opening strains of the Italian. But today, when it actually happened again, tears welled up in my eyes. Very bittersweet.

        1. @slowhands Were you cutting onions?

          1. @mashiat No. Do you really need me to explain?

            1. @slowhands No. But I would like one nonetheless. Don’t ask me why.

        2. Yup! Exactly! Same here.

    7. It was beautiful to see Vettel wearing Ferrari colours on the podium.

      I noticed he did a little Schumi ‘jump’ when he came out onto the podium and also tried his hand at conducting the orchestra during the Italian national anthem, another little tribute to Schumacher.

      I know some would find such acts crass or tasteless. I’m the opposite. All I saw up there was a young man who is a true fan of Schumacher, of Ferrari and of the sport. He was paying tribute in his own way to his childhood hero.

      He’s living his dream winning for Ferrari and I’m loving watching him. I come off as gushing and sentimental I know, but similarly Schumacher was my idol growing up. I’ve watched Vettel his entire career up until now and I was genuinely touched seeing him pay tribute to Schumacher up there today.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        29th March 2015, 16:04

        @colossal-squid +1, I felt something like that, and it’s so sad Schum is not able to enjoy these moments at the track.

        1. @omarr-pepper It may not be very realistic but I still hope one day he will be able to celebrate a Ferrari win while at a track. Keep fighting Michael!

      2. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        29th March 2015, 16:13

        Schumacher was my idol growing up also and it was strange seeing the Schumacher-esque podium celebrations. I miss those good old days watching Schumacher show everyone (senna included) how an f1 car SHOULD be driven. Gib-gas Schumacher. Get well asap!

      3. +1. I grew up watching the sport because of Michael. In spite of his dubious morals, his impression left on a small child was one of success. Everyone of us has a childhood hero depending on the era of F1 with which we grew up. The point of my post is that Seb Vettel is a fan of racing, he was a fan of Michael and he probably watched him celebrate so many times while wishing that it would be him one day on the top step while wearing red. To anyone finding his way of celebrating tasteless and crass, think about your childhood hero and whether or not you would bring an homage to him if you had the chance. I know I would.

      4. @collosal-squid: +1. I didn’t notice all of the Schuey era tribute while it happened, but You are right. I knew Vettel would do great things in F1 when I followed his first race, standing in for Kubica, in the Williams BMW F1 at Indianapolis 2007, finishing 8th, and becoming the youngest points scorer in F1, at that time. He is a tough guy on track, but how many Mr Nice Guy’s have won several titles? The season just got much more interesting, even if I still think Lewis will bag it again.

    8. Come on Schumacher, come on Jules keep fighting. Our prayers are with you.

      1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        29th March 2015, 19:06


    9. Congrats to Seb and Ferrari today. Incredible job by all involved at Maranello.

      Meanwhile it’s all quiet over at Red Bull. How long before Adrian Newey and crew get their car up to speed and join Merc and Ferrari on the podium? I’d guess it won’t be long.

    10. Vettel is riding an incredible wave of emotion now, chasing down his childhood dream to emulate the great Schumi.
      He’s like:

      1. ‘the great schumi?’ the man who either cheated or cynically worked his way to his titles..

        Love Vettel..and Schumi but only off the track

    11. I was never a Vettel fan while he was driving in RBR..nor i was fan of Ferrari..but this combination of Vettel/Arrivabenne/Allison is very likeable for me

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