Alonso not quite convinced of Vettel yet

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    pedro de la rosa named three f1 drivers who are capable of winning races without having the best car in the field. he mentioned fernando alonso, lewis hamilton and sebastian vettel, and with that was elevating them in a league above the others. jenson button fans might disagree, and they’re not the only ones: fernando alonso reacted to his compatriots quote slightly irritaded: he said that vettel hasn’t proven yet that he can take the 5th or 6th best car on the grid to the podium, since he has always had the best car. clearly referring to the latter part of 2009 and the last two seasons, alonso seems to forget vettel’s year at toro rosso, where he “outperformed” the car (ok you know what i mean by that), even winning a race with that car against the mclaren, best car on the grid.
    alonso says that vettel still has to prove his ability to get the maximum of an inferior car. do you agree?


    Its hard to say 100% about how Vettel would perform in an inferior car. Monza 2008 he was awesome, but lets face it, even Toro Rosso managed to set up their car better than anyone else that weekend. (Proved by the fact that Bourdais lined up 4th on the grid). Only time will tell whether Vettel belongs in the Alonso-Hamilton category.

    I would agree with the Button analysis though, he definitely is a driver that can win WDCs only with the best car on the grid


    @Todfod Don’t forget that Bourdais in 4th was 1second off pole; on a wet setup to Vettel’s dry setup. And he was streaming away at 1.2-1.5s a lap from Kovalainen in the wet. Fuel weight doesn’t matter much in the wet; especially at Monza where fuel effect is notoriously low.

    We also need to remember China 2009. He just absolutely butchered the field in a car that wasn’t the best. It had to go quite a bit lighter on fuel than the Brawn to outpace it in qualifying – if you saw the fuel corrected qualifying figures, the Brawns were still quicker. It was on a day where Mark Webber kept going off the circuit at the last corner too – often to lose his place (though he would always take it back) to Button in the process. The only 2009 victory without a double diffuser.

    Button is probably one who you can absolutely super rely on to bag the amount of points your car deserves. Give him a podium capable car he’ll get a podium. Same for a win. Give him a dominant car he’ll be WDC. But you don’t necessarily see him transcending the car’s capabilities.


    I think that if it was dry at Monza 2008, Vettel might have struggled to get on the podium, but we’ll never know. Vettel today is a much better driver, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


    I reckon it depends just as much who’s in the other cars.

    Imagine if in this year’s championship, we’d seen the Vettel from 2009 and early 2010 – making mistakes, not so great in qualifying, crashing a little.

    I think it’s fair to say that Button would have won the championship, beating the highly respected Webber and the ‘crash kid’ Vettel in a faster car.

    What do we conclude? Button’s capable of winning the championship in an inferior car. Just not when the guy in the best car puts in a season like Vettel just has… a season which has to be one of the best performances in a dominant car ever.

    The same goes for a lot of others. I bet Kubica thinks that in 2008, when there were no great driving performances (on the level of an Alonso, Schumacher, Vettel or Mansell), he could have won the championship in either the McLaren or the Ferrari. He came close enough in a Sauber!

    So it’s a poor yard-stick. Winning a championship with an inferior car almost always requires your rivals to make mistakes. That means it depends on luck. Vettel might never do it, but that doesn’t make him a bad driver. And it doesn’t mean he can’t attain greatness in the years to come.


    I think what Alonso means by ‘inferior’ is 3rd best (as Ferrari and McLaren have been for a while), I think Vettel probably could pull the odd result out in that situation. He’s definitely capable of keeping faster cars behind him, so all he needs is to qualify in front of them then work the strategy – two of his strong points.

    I think if Vettel was in a Mercedes this year he would have scored at least one podium.


    @slr would that not make his drive that much more special? If it were dry in Monaco 1984 Senna might have struggled to get into the points. I’m not trying to devalue either win; but my point is; if you can use the wet weather to get your car into places it doesn’t deserve to be – then that is a hell of a drive.

    @Alex agreed. Getting your car up high in races is one thing, but winning a championship in a lesser car is almost a dead-cert no-no; no matter who you have in the car.

    @George agreed. With the way he seems to be able to go fast and save his tyres this year; at least earlier on this year; he might even have snuck in a win. Who knows…


    I doubt Vettel would have a podium driving in a Mercedes. The top 3 teams are too far ahead, and they are far too reliable.
    Vettel’s best chance for a podium would be Canada, because that race was a lottery. Only if he was lucky, however.

    Other than that, Mercedes were incapable of taking a podium all season long, with a possible excpetion of China – when Mercedes were on par with Ferrari, and not much slower than Mclaren or Red Bull. Rosberg was great that day, and only finished 5th, I don’t think Vettel would’ve done much better.


    i am pretty sure that vettel can always take the absolute maximum out of any car. he has had some mistakes in the past, but his pace has always been at the maximum of what a car can deliver, at toro rosso and the first semester 2009 rbr.
    for me, he’s already proven to be at the hamilton level, at least.


    This is a challenging question. I personally think Vettel is good but there are some areas where he falls short. As for the Monza win, it was a surprise, but as it has been mentioned earlier wet races are lotteries. I dont think anyone would be able to get a WDC in the Ferrari but I also dont think anyone would be able to extract as much speed as Alonso did. The Ferrari seemed far more unforgiving then either the McLaren or Redbull and just looked like Alonso would be flying off the track at any moment. Except he hasnt. So I question how many drivers would be able to maintain that pace in something thats trying to kill you. Although Seb was hands down the driver of the year because you cant argue with domination but I dont think he would be as good as he seems if he were to switch from what looks like a calm in comparison Red Bull to the Ferrari.


    I guess after praising Vettel’s “great qualities” back in September (http://en.espnf1.com/ferrari/motorsport/story/58151.html), there is still a great quality or two he believes Vettel hasn’t nailed down quite yet. However, I think it’s unlikely we’re going to be seeing Vettel in the “5th or 6th best car on the grid” anytime in the near future, so I’m not sure when all the people holding out on this one will get an opportunity to have their minds changed!


    @dpod In the wet is where the car makes far less difference as a driver’s feel for the grip (which is ever changing) becomes that much more crucial. Also I think to say that no one would be able to match Alonso in the Ferrari is a bit stretching it I feel. I don’t think anyone would have gotten MORE out of the car (save for several brain fades/retirements) but could others have matched it? I think so.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    fernando alonso reacted to his compatriots quote slightly irritaded: he said that vettel hasn’t proven yet that he can take the 5th or 6th best car on the grid to the podium, since he has always had the best car

    Ah, he’s probably just jealous that Vettel beat his record for being the youngest double World Champion, and that vettel will probably take a third title before he does.


    I have a feeling that this quote has been taken out of context and possibly distorting its meaning…

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