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?âãÆ?é??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?âãÆ?é??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.
- Driver line-up changes for 2008
- United States Grand Prix 2007 Facts and Statistics
- United States Grand Prix 2007 review: Win #2 for Hamilton
- Sebastian Vettel replaces Robert Kubica at Indianapolis
- Sebastian Vettel biography
- Read more about Sebastian Vettel at Maximum Motorsport