Sebastian Vettel’s assault on the F1 records

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2011

Sebastian Vettel has been dubbed ‘baby Schumi’ by some. And he shows every sign of rivalling Schumacher’s record-smashing feats.

After a scorching start to the season, Vettel is rapidly making inroads into F1′s all-time records for wins, pole positions and more.

And he’s already already the youngest driver to win a championship, a race, score a point and set pole position.

Most wins

Just 73 races into his F1 career, Vettel is already equal 14th on the all-time list of winners. He’s tied with Lewis Hamilton, who has started nine more races.

Schumacher’s 91 wins towers over the rest but what’s even more impressive about that record is the strike rate.

Driver Wins %
1 Michael Schumacher 91 32.62
2 Alain Prost 51 25.63
3 Ayrton Senna 41 25.47
4 Nigel Mansell 31 16.58
5 Jackie Stewart 27 27.27
6 Fernando Alonso 27 15.98
7 Jim Clark 25 34.72
8 Niki Lauda 25 14.62
9 Juan Manuel Fangio 24 47.06
10 Nelson Piquet 23 11.27
11 Damon Hill 22 19.13
12 Mika Hakkinen 20 12.42
13 Kimi R??ikk??nen 18 11.54
14 Stirling Moss 16 24.24
15 Sebastian Vettel 16 21.92
16 Lewis Hamilton 16 19.51
17 Graham Hill 14 8.00
18 Jack Brabham 14 11.38
19 Emerson Fittipaldi 14 9.72
20 Alberto Ascari 13 40.63
21 David Coulthard 13 5.28

Schumacher won almost one-third of the races he started, a record which has taken a knock since his win-less comeback. Vettel’s strike rate is 21.92%, which underlines just how hard it would be to match Schumacher’s record.

He would need both a superior car and a weaker opposition to match Schumacher’s tally in the same kind of time frame. But when it comes to hitting that all-time figure, Vettel has the advantage of youth on his side.

Most podiums

Vettel isn’t the only current driver who’s showing well on the list of most podium finishes.

Fernando Alonso and Hamilton also feature highly on the list. It’s a testament not just to their skill as drivers, but also the benefit of spending several season in reasonably competitive cars, and the ever-improving reliability we see in F1 today.

Driver Podiums %
1 Michael Schumacher 154 55.2
2 Alain Prost 106 53.27
3 Ayrton Senna 80 49.69
4 Fernando Alonso 69 40.83
5 Rubens Barrichello 68 21.59
6 David Coulthard 62 25.2
7 Kimi R??ikk??nen 62 39.74
8 Nelson Piquet 60 29.41
9 Nigel Mansell 59 31.55
10 Niki Lauda 54 31.58
11 Mika Hakkinen 51 31.68
12 Gerhard Berger 48 22.86
13 Carlos Reutemann 45 30.82
14 Jackie Stewart 43 43.43
15 Damon Hill 42 36.52
16 Lewis Hamilton 40 48.78
17 Riccardo Patrese 37 14.45
18 Graham Hill 36 20.57
19 Jenson Button 36 18.00
20 Juan Manuel Fangio 35 68.63
21 Emerson Fittipaldi 35 24.31
22 Denny Hulme 33 29.46
23 Jody Scheckter 33 29.46
24 Felipe Massa 33 22.92
25 Jim Clark 32 44.44
26 Jacques Laffite 32 18.18
27 Jean Alesi 32 15.92
28 Jack Brabham 31 25.2
29 Juan Pablo Montoya 30 31.91
30 Sebastian Vettel 29 39.73

Schumacher leads the list, of course, but hasn’t added to his tally of 154 since returning to F1 at the beginning of last year.

Most pole positions

For Vettel, two changes in F1 coincided perfectly to make him the modern master of the pole position.

The first is, obviously, the superior one-lap pace of the recent Red Bulls. He and team mate Mark Webber have been first on the grid for each of the last 12 races.

But another key factor here is the ban on refuelling at the beginning of last year. This meant drivers in the top ten no longer had to qualify with their race fuel loads.

Thanks to that, we’ve seen a return to proper, low-fuel qualifying laps. It’s an area where Webber previously excelled, but his team mate has proven a formidable opponent.

Last year the margin between the two was often very tight – in the region of a tenth of a second at many tracks. This year Vettel has tended to have the upper hand, though Webber has gradually chipped away at his advantage since the beginning of the season.

Even so, the numbers speak for themselves: Vettel has been on pole position in 18 out of 30 races since the beginning of last season. He is already among the top ten drivers to have set the most pole positions:

Drivers Poles %
1 Michael Schumacher 68 24.37
2 Ayrton Senna 65 40.37
3 Jim Clark 33 45.83
4 Alain Prost 33 16.58
5 Nigel Mansell 32 17.11
6 Juan Manuel Fangio 29 56.86
7 Mika Hakkinen 26 16.15
8 Niki Lauda 24 14.04
9 Nelson Piquet 24 11.76
10 Sebastian Vettel 23 31.51

His strike rate may not be up there with the likes of Ayrton Senna, Jim Clark or Juan Manuel Fangio, but it is comfortably better than that of the current ultimate record holder. It’s quite possible Vettel could move up to sixth on this list by the end of the year.

‘Youngest ever’ records

Last year Vettel claimed the record for being the youngest ever world champion off Hamilton.

That completed the set for him – he is the youngest driver to score a point (the only teenager to do so), and the youngest driver to claim pole position and win a race:

Record Age Race Next on list
Youngest point-scorer 19 years, 345 days 2007 United States Grand Prix Jaime Alguersuari
Youngest pole sitter 21 years, 73 days 2008 Italian Grand Prix Fernando Alonso
Youngest race winner 21 years, 74 days 2008 Italian Grand Prix Fernando Alonso
Youngest world champion 23 years, 134 days 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton

With a long-term Red Bull contract in his pocket and Adrian Newey set to remain at the team for the foreseeable future, Vettel’s ascent through the history books could prove very rapid indeed. He’s also passed the mark of 1,000 laps led.

Do you expect Vettel’s streak of success to continue? What other records could he break?

And which drivers are best-placed to stop him? Have your say in the comments.

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171 comments on Sebastian Vettel’s assault on the F1 records

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  1. Tom11 said on 6th August 2011, 12:19

    I expect McLaren and Ferrari to be far stronger next year and we have seen in recent races that when they are Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso simply shine.

    I also hope that with the reversion to no exhaust blowing for 2012 that Webber will return to matching Sebastian (maybe even beating him far more often).

    The list of drivers that will cull this success?
    Fernando Alonso
    Lewis Hamilton
    Jenson Button
    Mark Webber
    Sergio Perez
    Daniel Ricciardo.

    • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 6th August 2011, 12:21

      Don’t forget Kobayashi!!

      Not to mention Michael Schumacher, he seems to be smashing into everyone these days…

    • Randy said on 6th August 2011, 13:03

      And, i sincerely hope, Robert Kubica.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 6th August 2011, 17:35

        Definitely Kubica, but not if he sticks with Renault. I hope he replaces Massa at Ferrari, which will result in an utopian driver selection: Alonso and Kubica. That will be a threat to Vettel!

        • Eggry (@eggry) said on 6th August 2011, 19:05

          Then Red Bull has to scout Hamilton or Mclaren vice versa! :)

        • kowalsky said on 6th August 2011, 20:33

          keep dreaming.
          Perez will replace massa at ferrari, in 2012 or 2013.
          Kubica is not going to make it in f1, may be in rally or nascar.

        • Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 7th August 2011, 12:38

          Alonso and Kubica vs. Vettel and Hamilton? This would be a killer.

        • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 7th August 2011, 14:18

          Alonso and Kubica at Ferrari? Not a hope in hell… It’d work better if Alonso moved to Red Bull after Webber’s retirement, and having Kubica and Massa at Ferrari.. Massa is a great driver, but fails to get the team behind him in the way Alonso does..

          Of course, my plan does involve having Vettel and Alonso in the same team, but it’s only theoretical! Maybe Ricciardo could move up to Red Bull and Vettel could replace Schumi at Team Germany.. Oops, Mercedes..

          At the moment, we’ve got 24 great drivers, I’d be happy if nothing changes in the driver market for 2012

    • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 6th August 2011, 13:45

      The only way Mclaren will be stronger next season is if they work off the current car, which won’t happen due to the rule changes and the last time Ferrari started the season with a competitive car was 2007? Newvey and RedBull are tied together for at least 2 more seasons. With Vettel at the wheel, watch the cookie crumble.

      • Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 8th August 2011, 22:24

        I don’t really agree with this. The regulations are staying pretty much the same apart from the exhaust blown diffusers, which is widely regarded as one of the key areas of the RB6/7 performance advantage.
        RBR optimised their EBD, or at least extracted more from it during 2010. Ferrari and Mclaren are just about maximising theirs. With the addition of the ‘off-throttle’ engine modes introduced this season RBR beat everyone to the jump again, but once again Ferrari and Mclaren have updated and bridged the gap.

        Only one win from 5 races for Red Bull is indicative of the changing trend. It will be very interesting to see what happens after the break, to see if RBR can bring some more performance to the car. The championships may be over but the rest of the season could potentially see Ferrari and Mclaren dominance.

        With many F1 teams stating that updates to this years car will carry through to next year, there is a small chance that Ferrari and Mclaren will match or beat Red Bull straight away in 2012.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 6th August 2011, 16:43

      I also hope that with the reversion to no exhaust blowing for 2012 that Webber will return to matching Sebastian (maybe even beating him far more often).

      I doubt that- Vettel is a young driver who is still improving, much like Lewis Hamilton. That’s why he matched Vettel in 2009, and has fallen away over 2010 (only beating Vettel in 6 races all year) and 2011 (1 race this year). Mark is very unliely to match Vettel over the course of a season like in 2009 again.

      • I see Webber finished more races ahead than Vettel in 2009 (9 to 8). But Vettel got more poles, wins and points than Webber that year. So I wouldn’t say Webber matched him that year.

      • DMC said on 7th August 2011, 9:22

        I dont think hamilton has matched his first season, in terms of consistant speed with few errors.

        • dfketr said on 7th August 2011, 18:58

          true, hamiltons racecraft has gone backwards, while vettels has gone forward. vettel is making the best of the machinery he has, while last year hamilton had a chance at the title before crashing in 2 vital races, and this year has continued the erratic results.

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 6th August 2011, 19:01

      Quite a bit of wishful thinking there methinks. Webber’s technique matches the EBD better when used without overrun. That requires a lot of very late apexing. But with EBD overrun, or completely without, the balance returns to normal and the advantage (in terms of technique) goes right back into Vettel’s court.

  2. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 6th August 2011, 12:20

    He looks set to beat Alonso’s record for youngest double world champion and back to back world champion. With 25 points for a win, and him scoring over 450 points in the last 18 months, he’s set to beat Schumacher’s total for most points too…

    • unocv12 said on 6th August 2011, 14:51

      Everyone looks to beat Schumachers most points becasue of the massive change.

      When you get 2.5 times the points for a win and you get points for finishing 10th, and 20 races in a season it’s a lot easier to rack up the points than before

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 6th August 2011, 16:52

        That’s why on Wikipedia’s F1 Records page the points are divided in pre-2010 and post-2009.

        • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 6th August 2011, 18:41

          These points stats should only really be percentage of season points due to the large differences from 09 to 10.

          Still with one 4th and all the rest 1st and 2nds, I imagine he’d be up there in most points taken in a season.

    • Kimster said on 6th August 2011, 20:46

      Not only youngest WDC and this year the youngest double WDC. Within 6 years he can become the youngest triple WDC, replacing Senna at the top of the list. He has 6 years to make it happen, Alonso has to do it next year to be youngest triple WDC

  3. Eggry (@eggry) said on 6th August 2011, 12:20

    also It’s almost certain he would be youngest double champion. Alonso has very slim chance to become youngest triple champion chance because Aytron Senna is current one and he was 31 when he became triple champ. Now Alonso turned to 30, so next year is his last chance. Hamilton has about 5 years, Vettel has about 7 years. Well, I’m not please with Vettel’s record streak :P

    • unocv12 said on 6th August 2011, 14:53

      He seems more and more like a Villneuve, Hill or even Piquet style champion… best car not the best teammates and ka boom.

      Would be sad/funny to see him be a double world championa nd then beaten by others. Wont happen though only those gone through the Red Bull program will be his teammates

      • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 6th August 2011, 16:52

        Webber’s not exactly a pushover… 9 times out of 10 you need to be in the best car to be the Champion. The last time I recall this not occuring was 1994 where Schumacher best the dented Willamses in his less-competitive Benneton…

        • Kili Liam said on 6th August 2011, 17:08

          .. well, less competitive, but lot more illegal, no? Those Benetton starts were all “not normal”, and almost everybody knows that including Ayrton, Damon, Nigel, and so on .. oh, I almost forgot, Flavio, ahahahahah

        • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 6th August 2011, 18:48

          Exactly. Think how highly rated Webber is and he’s been trounced this year.

          The Red Bull hasn’t been that dominant this year, if you look at Webber’s positions he’s been on similar often slower pace than Ferrari and McLaren.

          • kowalsky said on 6th August 2011, 20:35

            it’s because people like him. So they rate him better.

          • Pinball said on 6th August 2011, 21:53

            Haven’t been that dominant? Currently 1st and 2nd in the drivers standings, and first in the constructers standings. The results suggest dominance.

        • SoLiDG said on 6th August 2011, 21:34

          imo Hamilton became champion in the second best car in 2008..

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 6th August 2011, 16:57

        Remember Villeneuve? After a great start to his career he went nowhere, although he could have been much more succesfull. So it’s not certain Vettel will have an easy path to glory.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 6th August 2011, 17:01

        Would be sad/funny to see him be a double world championa nd then beaten by others.

        Well, there is a double champion at the moment still waiting for his third title.

        • bananarama said on 6th August 2011, 17:28

          Sad for him, if lucky he could be 4 times champion by now already. But he isn’t and could should would don’t get you anything.

        • unoc (@unoc) said on 7th August 2011, 3:26

          David A, Alonso is atleast beating all his teammates. Hamilton he drew with, but smashed Piquet into a wall (quite literally), smashed Massa, and is doing so again.

          THe only guy he didn’t smash was Hamilton who IS a WDC himself.

          And remember as banarama pointed out, a pit call was all that stopped him from being a WDC in a 2nd or 3d best car all year!

          —–
          And anyway, WEbber ISN’T highly rated.

          It’s only been since his spain and monaco in 2010 that anyone has actually cared. I want him to win, but I have toa dmit he isn’t a top driver.

          Going into 09 everyone said VEttel would beat him, into 10 everyone said vettel would smash him at everyone has wrong again.

          Fact is, Webber is now well above 30 and wasn’t the classed as an lucky Alonso/Schumacher, merely a top middle driver.

          I don’t call beating Webber, especially when he is having tyre problems and KERS issues more often that not, a big achievement. I see 09 and 10 and I don’t see at great skills over, I see someone who is marginally better

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 7th August 2011, 4:19

            don’t call beating Webber, especially when he is having tyre problems and KERS issues more often that not, a big achievement. I see 09 and 10 and I don’t see at great skills over, I see someone who is marginally better.

            Selective memory. You call back Webber’s problems this year, when he’s 85 points behind, yet make no mention of Vettel’s mechanical problems while leading three seperate races (63 points Vettel lost, yet he still won by 14). Across the three years together, Vettel has smashed Webber and he samshed Bourdais (a rookie like Piquet), like it or not.

          • unocv12 said on 7th August 2011, 7:12

            I don’t have a slective memory.

            Hardly, Webber had problems too including Germany and Brazil where his engine was overheating and he couldn’t run close enought overtake for fear of it blowing up.

            And anyway, that is hardly a great achievement to beat Webber. He destroyed Bordais by a massive %. (4 points vs 35 using the old system as well).

            In 2009 he beat Webber by 14.5 points after Webber came in with minimal testing and a healing broken leg. Wowww… That was Vettel’s 3rd year of F1 in a race seat and 4th year of driving an F1 car (2006 he was testing for BMW Sauber). I wouldn’t call beating Webber by 14.5 points a great achievement and he clearly was inexperienced and young as the media tend to put.

            In 2010:
            Vettel 256 points with 3 races hampered by mechanical problems (25 points lost in Korea. 12 points lost in Bahrain and ??? lost in Australia. He was leading in Australia but with rain adn straterg to come into play, we don’t knoow how RBR would have done it. THey screwed Webber over so it’s unlikely they would have been able to do any better with Vettel’s stratergy).

            - Stratergy in Australia. Should have taken over Vettel’s lead and gone on to win but a bad stratergy put him back in traffic and after trying too hard went back from 7th to 9th. Lost out to pole by approx 1 tenth
            - Vettel hit Webber off track, Webber was ahead and finished behind and lost another 2 places because of it. 5th vs 8th if we want to be technical. Could call it 6 points or a racing incident. I’m going with the later, but as much Webbers fault as an engine blowing in the 2nd race
            - Turkey. Teammate used race as a reference for his rsume for Jackass. Lost 10 points.
            - Canada, qualified 2nd (Hamilton on pole), but a gearbox problem put him back to 7th. We don’t know what would have happened but it would have been better than finishing 6th. ???? points lost
            - Wing in GB.. but didn’t lose points despite a mechanical disadvantage
            - Engine problems hit when he was closing up at a rate of knotes to overtake Button and he had to pull back (look at timings) and no overtake. ??? points lost, but probably would have atleast past the two McLarens give his great pace until then and his ability to easily keep up up just behind the buffer so 4 points???
            - Spa he had a clutch problem at the start and lost first to Hamilton. Easily outqualified Vettel.
            - Brazil he had engine problems although he was catching Vettel so he had to hold back and easily held the position. So 7 points for Webber and another -7 for Vettel.
            - Abu Dhabi stratergy hit him again rather hard.

            Added to that he Vettel barely beat Webber to pole at many tracks including Suzuka, China, Valencia, etc…

            Remembering that some Mech failuer actually helped Vettel (Monza, otherwise he wouldn’t have got that stratergy Horner admitted).

            So all over all, Vettel barely beat Webber and for a midfield driver Vettel should be doing a lot better if he is to be a top driver of this generation.

            Suprised you forgot ALL of these… selective memory?

          • SVettel (@) said on 7th August 2011, 15:55

            unocv12, in 2010, Vettel had problems too: bahrain: Spark plug failure
            australia: brake problem
            china: team strategy
            spain: brake problems
            Turkey; broken anti-roll bar
            monaco; cracked chassis
            canada: gearbox problem
            Silverstone: Slipping clutch
            Germany: Slipping clutch
            Hungary: Team radio malfunction
            Monza: sticking brakes
            Korea: engine failure

            You seem to forget most of the terminal failures that happened to vettel

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 7th August 2011, 17:07

            As it’s been pointed out, Vettel had far more problems than Webber, yet still beat him. Webbber had zero terminal failures all year in 2010. Vettel clearly lost 3 wins.

            Saying Vettel “barely beat” Webber is just an insult.

          • SVettel David A +100

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 7th August 2011, 17:26

            unocv12, in 2010, Vettel had problems too: bahrain: Spark plug failure
            australia: brake problem
            china: team strategy
            spain: brake problems
            Turkey; broken anti-roll bar
            monaco; cracked chassis
            canada: gearbox problem
            Silverstone: Slipping clutch
            Germany: Slipping clutch
            Hungary: Team radio malfunction
            Monza: sticking brakes
            Korea: engine failure

            See unoc? This list includes three occasions that Vettel was clearly leading a race before a failure. Reasonable proof that he had the pace to win.

            You’re coming up with examples where Webber wasn’t actually doing much before any problems. Webber lost a win at Brazil? Please. Vettel was too quick. He should have beat the Mclarens in Germany? Yes, if he didn’t have a typically bad start to get stuck behind them in the first place. I don;t buy that Webber would have won in Australia either- not when his RB6 rammed Hamilton off the road twice.

            Simply, Vettel has been noticeably better than Mark Webber since 2010. Far from “barely beat”.

  4. maxthecat said on 6th August 2011, 12:30

    Utterly pointless to compare drivers early in their career’s with one’s who have stopped racing. So Vettel has an ok record at the moment because he’s been in the best car, wait until his racing career is over before producing lists like this.

    And as for who is the youngest this or that, who cares, it means absolutely nothing.

    • Bernard (@bernard) said on 6th August 2011, 13:14

      It might not mean anything, but beating records becomes harder and harder, that’s the nature of record breaking and the reason it makes for interesting discussion.

      • unocv12 said on 6th August 2011, 15:04

        Records are only exciting if they can be beaten by anyone. For example the fastest road car is a great record because all companies can go for it and who will get it?

        The ‘youngest’ is stupid because implies a prodigical talent and superstar while wearing diepers while what actually happens is drivers are getting younger.

        And then we get to this stupid game of… so does that make Vettel better than Alonso… sure yeah, cos he’s so young and impressive at a young age.. how about better than Senna.. course not lol, Senna can’t be beaten because he started late blah blah.

        The record doesn’t stand for anything meaningful. Vettel isn’t a better drive because of him doing it younger, he has just had a much quicker route from karts > fastest car on the grid than others.

        • Cole (@cole) said on 6th August 2011, 19:19

          “Vettel isn’t a better drive because of him doing it younger, he has just had a much quicker route from karts > fastest car on the grid than others.”

          Ask Hamilton then. The only guy I know of having his rookie season in the most competitive car of the field.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 6th August 2011, 23:55

            Exactly. Vettel and Hamilton weren’t fast tracked into competitive cars by accident. They showed enough promise in junior formulae and/or in lower teams to earn their competitive cars. And they haven’t disappointed.

          • Mads said on 7th August 2011, 14:59

            @David A I agree. Some people seem to think that the drivers a team chooses is like a lottery were they just pick names from a hat, blindfolded.
            To get to a good car early is important, and doing good in lower fomula racing series is a part of that.

      • Daniel said on 6th August 2011, 19:10

        Don’t forget that he got the “youngest winner” record with a Toro Rosso (former Minardi) starting in the grid alongside a McLaren (Kovalainen, obviously) who wasn’t capable of beating him.

        Until Monza 2008, I was one of those thinking Vettel was a spoiled-overrated-PR-friendly kid.

        But his brilliant performance on the rain (pole position and win) in a classic track was enough to silence my critics.

        He still showed, as recently as last year, that he was VERY immature, but fast enough and head-strong when it mattered to win the title.

        This year he’s almost flawless: finishing second when he can’t win, and only once in 11 races he was out of first row and the podium.

        • unocv12 said on 7th August 2011, 3:45

          For goodness, sake, this is exactly what I was alluding to, that you can just cherry pick facts rather than look at the whole situation and story of why these happened.

          David A, sure they were fast tracked for a reason. But this didn’t happen 10 years ago even! Nothing as developed as the programmes of today. It’s a useless state unless you are arguing that Vettel is somehow better than Senna, Prost, Fangio etc.. for being younger. Surely that makes Buemi a better driver than Fangio for leading a lap at a younger age! And I believe better than Senna too!

          Vettel in fact was just pushed through as a marketing tool and to makeit look like all drivers in the programme weren’t fools, if you look properly as Vettel’s ‘lower formulae’ career you will note he won bugger all. Beaten in the same car at this, beaten by someone else at that. Hulkenberg won titles throughout his lower formulae career and he isn’t in an F1 race seat. Hamilton did and he is.
          Vettel won about as much as D’Abrosio going through
          Daniel

          Daniel, calling a Toro Rosso a Minardi is truley pathetic. That is like saying ‘wow, look Vettel is winning races in a Jaguar!!!

          THe Toro Rosso at the time VEttel drove it was a Red Bull with a Ferrari engine. Newey designed the Red Bull, stuck a Ferrari engine into it and later a Renault engine, and after putting a Renault in the Red Bull, a Ferrari was slotted into the Toro Rosso.

          A Minardi was a back marker car, the Toro Rosso, particularly during the last half of 2008 was anything BUT a back marker car. During that exact race he won from pole, his teammate, dumped by this team from F1 qualified 4th but didn’t take the start from their due to mechanical problems

          Can you please tell me how he was brilliant, what I saw was someone just out qualify a guy who didn’t belong in F1 and then led without opposition to do anything with.

          He has had by far the best car this season. The Ferrari has been slow, the McLaren sometime there somtimes not. Webber has had more mechanical problems during Quali and the start and some in the later parts of the race to go mad, plus he was struggling with the tyres.

          It is a thumbs up to him for being able to get the results consistantly, but he hasn’t had to work for them speed wise, just be consistant.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 7th August 2011, 4:44

            It’s a useless state unless you are arguing that Vettel is somehow better than Senna, Prost, Fangio etc.. for being younger.

            I did not compare him to those people, and didn’t say that “youngest” anything is important. You said that Vettel got into the fastest car early, and I added that he did so by working his way up from test driving and STR.

            If you look properly as Vettel’s ‘lower formulae’ career you will note he won bugger all. Beaten in the same car at this, beaten by someone else at that.

            He did respectably in lower formulae rather than be outstanding. But when given a chance to test for BMW, impressed. When at STR, impressed. That’s why I said “or in lower teams to earn their competitive cars”.

            Hulkenberg won titles throughout his lower formulae career and he isn’t in an F1 race seat. Hamilton did and he is.

            Barring one wet qualifying session, Hulkenberg wasn’t all that impressive, scoring less than half the points of his teammate. That put his Williams seat at risk.

            Hamilton came into Mclaren, matched Alonso and challenged for the title. His seat wasn’t put at risk.

            Vettel consistently scored points in the STR and won a race. His F1 future wasn’t put at risk. Makes sense?

            Can you please tell me how he was brilliant, what I saw was someone just out qualify a guy who didn’t belong in F1 and then led without opposition to do anything with.

            If you seriously tuned in to qualifying on that day and weren’t even impressed, let alone astounded by a 20 year old taking a Toro Rosso to pole at a wet Monza, and following it up with a convincing win over the rest of the field, then go ahead and senselessly deride everything Vettel has and ever will achieve.

            He has had by far the best car this season. The Ferrari has been slow, the McLaren sometime there somtimes not. Webber has had more mechanical problems during Quali and the start and some in the later parts of the race to go mad, plus he was struggling with the tyres.

            It is a thumbs up to him for being able to get the results consistantly, but he hasn’t had to work for them speed wise, just be consistant.

            Well, I believe you have overplayed the difference between the front running cars. At various points this season, especially on Sundays, the Ferraris and Mclarens have had close race pace to the RBRs. More often than not, Webber has struggled even when his car is functional (Spain, Turkey, Hungary, Monaco). Vettel certainly did have to work for some of his wins like Spain and Monaco.

            Long post over.

          • Daniel said on 7th August 2011, 14:53

            Pathetic is misinterpreting a text to criticize it. “former Minardi” is as valid for Toro Rosso as “former Honda” was for Brawn.

            If Toro Rosso’s car wasn’t as hopelessly slow as Minardi used to be, it was clearly a midfield car… Since you called it a “Red Bull with Ferrari engine”, just look at the other results in 2008, not only Toro Rosso’s, but Red Bull’s acheivements.

            Red Bull scored only 29 points with a single 3rd place as its best result. Toro Rosso, with 39, and also with only one podium, beat its supplier team mostly because of Vettel’s win in Monza and a few other great results in the last races.

            Winning in these circunstances is remarkable. If it is not, I can’t remember another F-1 win that deserves that credit. Yeah, the weather was crazy, just as in other great wins – Senna in Donington ’93, Barrichello in Hockenheimen ’00, Raikkonen in Suzuka ’05, Button in Hungaroring ’06, Button in Montreal ’11…

            Being competitive and delivering in a top team is harder than it seems from the outside, mostly when you are unexperienced. See what happened to Kovalainen… one season in the midfield (Renault) than a move to a top team (McLaren) where he spent two seasons doing nothin worth mentioning, except for a single win (Hungaroring ’08) inherited with four laps to go after Massa’s engine blow away…

            There are other good examples of drivers underperforming when given their big opportunity: Andretti, Irvine, Frentzen, Barrichello, Fisichella…

            So all credits to Hamilton and Vettel for this. The only thing Vettel never faced was a TRULY competitive team-mate, like Alonso in 2007 with Hamilton. Webber is good, but not a match for Sebastian… he is, at best, as competitive as Button is for Hamilton…

            But I can agree with you in one thing: only time can make Vettel truly great: more and more time at the top, or facing challenges and placing his cars higher than they should be (Alonso increased even more his reputiation by doing this the last few years)…

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 7th August 2011, 16:56

            Everybody seems a little over excited here.

            To be fair, although Vettel’s first win and pole was brilliant, Bourdais showed by qualifying 4th (and Webber in the Red Bull 3rd- a very similar car) that the Toro rosso was simply very well suited to the track and its conditions. Unlike Hulkenberg, who seemed to genuinely find pace from nowhere last year, Vettel had a car that was, on that day, one of the most competitive regardless of who was driving. Yes it took him to stick it right at the front and drive it to 1st, and it was very impressive, but calling it a Minardi in an attempt to make his achievement seem greater doesn’t seem right.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 7th August 2011, 17:30

            It’s a useless state unless you are arguing that Vettel is somehow better than Senna, Prost, Fangio etc.. for being younger.

            I did not compare him to those people, and didn’t say that “youngest” anything is important. You said that Vettel got into the fastest car early, and I added that he did so by working his way up from test driving and STR.

            If you look properly as Vettel’s ‘lower formulae’ career you will note he won bugger all. Beaten in the same car at this, beaten by someone else at that.

            He did respectably in lower formulae rather than be outstanding. But when given a chance to test for BMW, impressed. When at STR, impressed. That’s why I said “or in lower teams to earn their competitive cars”.

            Hulkenberg won titles throughout his lower formulae career and he isn’t in an F1 race seat. Hamilton did and he is.

            Barring one wet qualifying session, Hulkenberg wasn’t all that impressive, scoring less than half the points of his teammate. That put his Williams seat at risk.

            Hamilton came into Mclaren, matched Alonso and challenged for the title. His seat wasn’t put at risk.

            Vettel consistently scored points in the STR and won a race. His F1 future wasn’t put at risk. Makes sense?

            Can you please tell me how he was brilliant, what I saw was someone just out qualify a guy who didn’t belong in F1 and then led without opposition to do anything with.

            If you seriously tuned in to qualifying on that day and weren’t even impressed, let alone astounded by a 20 year old taking a Toro Rosso to pole at a wet Monza, and following it up with a convincing win over the rest of the field, then go ahead and senselessly deride everything Vettel has and ever will achieve.

            He has had by far the best car this season. The Ferrari has been slow, the McLaren sometime there somtimes not. Webber has had more mechanical problems during Quali and the start and some in the later parts of the race to go mad, plus he was struggling with the tyres.

            It is a thumbs up to him for being able to get the results consistantly, but he hasn’t had to work for them speed wise, just be consistant.

            Well, I believe you have overplayed the difference between the front running cars. At various points this season, especially on Sundays, the Ferraris and Mclarens have had very close race pace to the RBRs. More often than not, Webber has struggled even when his car is functional (Spain, Turkey, Hungary, Monaco). Plus Vettel certainly did have to work for some of his wins like Spain and Monaco.

    • DMC said on 7th August 2011, 9:40

      I agree, it seems to me that people are also underestimsting just what schumacher acheived on and off the track, by virtually managing ferrari as well as winning a lot of races that left people scratching their heads wondering how did it.

      • Jay said on 8th August 2011, 8:49

        Lewis Hamilton: “The driver of the past, the present and the future”

        Nuff said.

        …(wipes tears) boy that cracked me up real good!

        • unocv12 said on 8th August 2011, 16:39

          Matt,

          Everybody seems a little over excited here.

          To be fair, although Vettel’s first win and pole was brilliant, Bourdais showed by qualifying 4th (and Webber in the Red Bull 3rd- a very similar car) that the Toro rosso was simply very well suited to the track and its conditions. Unlike Hulkenberg, who seemed to genuinely find pace from nowhere last year, Vettel had a car that was, on that day, one of the most competitive regardless of who was driving. Yes it took him to stick it right at the front and drive it to 1st, and it was very impressive, but calling it a Minardi in an attempt to make his achievement seem greater doesn’t seem right.

          +1 for comment of the day….

  5. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 6th August 2011, 12:35

    Great post. Thanks for this Keith.

    Would love Vettel to get the most poles in a season record. He just needs to be on pole in half the remaining races.

  6. glue said on 6th August 2011, 12:42

    wasn’t qualifying with race fuel loads from 2003 to 2009?..I’m guessing you’re referring to Webber’s 2002 qualifying performances

  7. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 6th August 2011, 12:42

    It’s nice to see a battle for the records with Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel.

    I really hope to see a great race with them three battling for the lead one day. I don’t think they’ve even shared the podium together?

    Monaco we had Vettel, Alonso, Button and Germany we had Alonso, Hamilton, Webber.

    • David BR said on 6th August 2011, 15:50

      I think this comment is more to the point. Schumacher had little competition. Senna and Prost had to face each other (and Mansell) which makes more of a comparison with the present era. I think we all know the ‘Vettel dominance’ is down to the combination of faster car in qualifying, more or less equal in racing, and Vettel’s speed in quali and leading from the front. Being realistic, though, Hamilton and Alonso are just as fast and far better racers. Given equal cars, Vettel would be doomed to third place while these two continued. So it’s really down to the teams (cars) to sort these drivers out for posterity – whoever generally gets the best car over the next 5 to 10 years will probably approximate or even beat Schumacher’s record number of wins, though I’d prefer not to see it broken too soon – that would mean the dominance of just one team.

    • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 6th August 2011, 16:55

      Singapore 2009 maybe? Who finished 2nd that race… I forget…

  8. echo7 (@) said on 6th August 2011, 12:56

    maxthecat makes good points. After a tremendous early and mid career Tiger Woods has had a bit of a bad run. A few years ago he appeared to be set to wipe out most of the important records in pro golf(indeed, like vettel, he already owns quite a few records)and suddenly injuries and personal issues have made him the equivalent of a back marker.
    Great article, though, as I enjoy looking at the stats and reading comparisons.

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 6th August 2011, 15:22

      But Tiger Woods will go down in history as one of the greatest golf players ever.

      No matter what happens now Vettel will still be considered a great as he will likely be a double world champion at the end of the year.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 6th August 2011, 15:42

        I don’t know, if he goes JV on us people won’t be putting him in their Top 10s

        • bananarama said on 6th August 2011, 16:20

          I remember how people made out Villeneuve to be the future greatest, then Alonso then Hamilton then Vettel. At some point way way in the past people even thought of Fisichella to become a champion. Early career tells nothing about the rest of it. When Schumacher came to the sport he wasn’t regarded as the biggest talent, when he went to Ferrari people thought his career is over and in the end he is on top of all those records.That leads me to think .. wouldn’t it be awesome if he could strike back once again?! :-P

        • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 6th August 2011, 17:04

          JV was arrogant and gave up after he won the title. Much like Raikkonen, but I actually had some respect for him…

          • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 6th August 2011, 18:28

            Just because Hamilton’s only won one title though doesn’t mean he’s the next JV?

            He’s challenged for titles in 3 of his 5 years in F1. Same with Vettel.

            I really can’t see people forgetting about Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel.

          • Eggry (@eggry) said on 6th August 2011, 18:48

            Yeah, those 3 drivers have concsistently challenged title battle. Only difference is Vettel never challenged title without less competitive car. Of course it doesn’t mean he can’t but if he want people not to have doubt, he needs to prove. Actually I think he can, but I’m not sure he would be impressive as much as Alonso and Hamilton in tough situation.

          • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 6th August 2011, 22:13

            @Eggry – You can’t challenge for the title without an uncompetitive car.

            Alonso won his two titles with a dominant car. Hamilton couldn’t do enough in 2009. The only car Vettel’s been in that wasn’t up to scratch was the Toro Rosso and he got some impressive results, not just the win but many 4th, 5th and 6th places, this was in a car that his team mate struggled to get points in.

        • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 8th August 2011, 4:18

          I can explain why in three letters: B.A.R :D I doubt Vettel will make the same mistake again.

          On the other hand, Hamilton hasn’t been in the WDC Top 3 since 2008, and should really start winning again soon.

  9. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 6th August 2011, 13:21

    It won’t be long before Vettel starts breaking records for the fastest person to break records.

    • echo7 (@) said on 6th August 2011, 13:27

      cotd candidate!

      • unocv12 said on 6th August 2011, 14:56

        Where’s Newey record for most drivers to win a WDC but then no other thanks to the brilliance of his car?

        I believe he should be on 5 so far:
        Mansell, Hill, Villneuve, Hakkinen and Vettel have all won a championship with a Newey car but none other. Villneuve hasn’t even won a race in a non Newey car… nor has Vettel (STR was a Newey Red Bull with a Ferrari engine at that stage).

        • @unocv12 You could give that suggestion to FIA etc. Besides car or designer, drivers play a vry crucial factors, for ex last year if nt by the briliant drove from Vettel at the end of the season Red Bull despite being the better car in almost whole season wouldnt win the driver champion, if nt Vettel it would go to Alonso where the RB other driver Webber failed to do so.

  10. di Resta in a competitive car will be hard one to beat, Schumi’s place will go to di Resta in 2013. And if the merc is competitive he will be champion for sure.

  11. AndrewT (@andrewt) said on 6th August 2011, 13:38

    i was reading all the comments, and towards the end of all, i had to quickly read the title of this article again, i thought that the comments would be written on Vettel or his performance :D

  12. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 6th August 2011, 13:41

    I doubt anyone will ever pass the 91 wins record.

    Let’s say Vettel wins another 5 races this year; he would need to win 10 races a year for another 7 years to beat that record.

    Of course, he could easily go for another 10 years (which is also a scary thought), but I don’t see it happening unless we return to the old two-team hegemony seasons of the 2000s and he’s in one of those teams.

    • David BR said on 6th August 2011, 16:24

      +1

      We should relish the fact there are at least two greats at their peak out there right now, Alonso and Hamilton, a great in ‘gentle decline’ shall we say, Schumacher, and a number of fine drivers, including Button, Rosberg and Webber, and more than a few emerging talents set to prove themselves over the next few seasons. Then there’s Kubica, who will hopefully return to his best and who I’d have placed alongside the first three (FA, LH and MS) as the set of drivers willing to push to the limit and beyond on track (literally those who come closes to the walls). And Vettel? Where to place him depends on whether he can still move up a level in racing. But his ‘self-preservation limit’ seems a bit narrower than this group, he risks a little less, so I don’t see it. But he has the dedication and concentration to perfect many other aspects of his driving.

  13. El Abuelo said on 6th August 2011, 15:07

    4TH, Fernando Alonso 69 podiums 40.83%
    With Minardi,
    renault 2003 & 2004, fighting with Ferrari and Mclaren,
    Renault 2008 & 2009…

    And had a 40% of races in podium…

    % of victory / gp

    9 FANGIO Juan Manuel 24 47.06
    20 ASCARI Alberto 13 40.63
    7 CLARK Jim 25 34.72
    1 SCHUMACHER Michael 91 32.62
    5 STEWART Jackie 27 27.27
    2 PROST Alain 51 25.63
    3 SENNA Ayrton 41 25.47
    14 MOSS Stirling 16 24.24
    15 VETTEL Sebastian 16 21.92
    16 HAMILTON Lewis 16 19.51
    11 HILL Damon 22 19.13
    4 MANSELL Nigel 31 16.58
    6 ALONSO Fernando 27 15.98

  14. KevinPNW said on 6th August 2011, 15:07

    Everyone talks about Vettel’s current car, but remember he won Minardi / Toro Rosso’s only race back in 2008 in a mid field car. I think that really sets him apart despite the board here always saying he has the best car / luck.
    Anyone here think that Alonso / Hamilton could have done that?

    • brum55 said on 6th August 2011, 15:39

      As Bourdais started the race 3rd you could assume Toro Rosso was a strong package that weekend and not a ‘Minardi’. Therefore I do believe Alonso and especially Hamilton, with his record in the wet, could have done that.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 6th August 2011, 19:37

      Midfield car? The Red Bull with a stronger engine,that year was the apex of the era of rule stability and the backmarkers had substantially closed the gap to the top teams.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 7th August 2011, 0:10

        Of course the STR was a midfield car. Ferrari, Mclaren and sometimes BMW were the front runners. STR were certainly behind Renault and Toyota, and around where Red Bull were. It was Vettel that made the difference and pulled it to 8th in the championship.

  15. Vettel’s really racking up the records. Quite likely to get another couple of wins this season too. Will probably hit the ground running before any other team next season (Newey will ‘find’ something). Three in a row?

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