Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea International Circuit, 2013

Vettel ‘not dominating like Schumacher did’

2013 Japanese Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea International Circuit, 2013Sebastian Vettel does not agree with Lewis Hamilton’s claim that his success in Formula One has become like Michael Schumacher’s domination of the sport in the early 2000s.

Following the Korean Grand Prix Hamilton claimed Vettel’s run of victories had become a turn-off for some fans as Schumacher’s had been.

“I think it’s very different,” said Vettel. “I think there’s probably one race that’s a bit of an exception, take Singapore the gaps we had and were able to build up was incredible to lap two seconds quicker than the cars behind us. But obviously it depended who was behind us at the time and which tyres and so on.”

“But anyway what I wanted to say is if you take Korea which I think is more similar to Spa whatsoever the gap was between three and six seconds for the whole race. I think ten years ago it was more like 30 to 60 seconds which is a big difference.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice cushion to have in the car when you see that you are three seconds down the road. But equally you know that one stupid mistake in Korea, for example a lock-up which was likely, and three seconds is nothing compared to 30 or 60.”

Hamilton later added Vettel deserved his success in a series of posts on Twitter. Vettel, who does not use the social network, said he was told about Hamilton’s further comments.

“Obviously it’s very nice to hear something like that. I think I can only give it back. I think there is respect amongst the drivers, there’s a lot of stuff that gets written and said. I think the most important is when you go up to another driver, whether you feel respected or not and I think that is the case.”

“I think Lewis is one of the best drivers currently in Formula One. I get along quite well with him lately so I can only say ‘thank you very much’ and give it back.”

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45 comments on “Vettel ‘not dominating like Schumacher did’”

  1. Vettel and Adam Savage (Mythbusters) probably share the same ancestor.

    1. Ha! Look alike :D

    2. I can see the similarities haha!

  2. I agree with him – even though RBR dominated in the last 4 seasons it’s way closer than it ever was as far as I can remember. In the late 80s McLaren dominated then Williams then Benetton then Mclare again and Ferrari. And it was not that uncommon that the leader would lap the entire field.

    1. True, but the rules are so much more restrictive these days it’s far more difficult to build a car with an advantage over the rest of the field that’s measured in seconds. With the teams so close, the way different cars respond to different tracks becomes more important, so you’re more likely to see the pecking order change from race to race. On the other side of the coin, you have greatly improved reliability, which means that you’re less likely to see a lesser team luck into a win because their chief rivals have all broken down.

      But it does serve to underline what a fantastic job Adrian Newey and his team have done for the past five years, to be so consistently at the front – pretty much without challenge for about half of that time, I’d say.

  3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    10th October 2013, 9:12

    Sebastian says things like, “I’ve been getting on quite well with Lewis lately” before turning to JB and putting extra emphasis on the “lately”, and still wonders why other drivers don’t talk to him in the “cool-off” room.

    1. What? He clearly talks with almost everyone in the cool off.

      And I don’t know what you find wrong in that quote

      I’m really astonished the way people try to find bad things about Vettel

    2. @william-brierty

      How did you get that? Seriously, how?

      and still wonders why other drivers don’t talk to him in the “cool-off” room.

      When has he wondered that? Honest question, since I’ve seen him often enough chatting with Hamilton and Webber. So I’m curious where you get such intricate details about his feelings.

      Or are we just trying to make Vettel look bad, regardless of how irrational we sound?

    3. And you don’t think the reason he said that is Hamiltons’ fault ? Ofcourse not, Seb is always to blame.
      If there is any reason they didn’t get along before it is only because of Lewis, Seb never said anything to discredit Lewis or show him in a bad light

    4. LOL. Never change, @william-brierty.

    5. @william-brierty (mnm101), (silence), (oletros) – The irony of an Alonso fan saying that, look at Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel preparing for the podium at Spa, then tell me that no-one talks to Vettel in the cool off room.

    6. Vettel is one of the most talkative guys in the paddock, whoever is involved. Alonso in particular seems far more introvert in every circumstance.

    7. Vettel said “I used the word lately” to JB and that is what you understood from that?

  4. Vettel ‘not dominating like Schumacher did’

    Maybe not, but it’s getting increasingly boring to watch.
    It’s not Vettel’s or RBR’s fault, of course. But it *is* getting boring.

    1. …and yet you continue to watch anyway?

      1. Yes. Yes, pathetic I know. But an addict is an addict.
        I’ve tried aversion therapy, beating myself with a rolled up copy of Autosport, even tried watching football . . . but it’s no good.

        1. even tried watching football

          Wow, are you masochistic?

    2. Victories may be more predictable this year, but that doesn’t make the sport boring, unless gambling on the outcome is the reason to watch. F1 is incredibly complex and deep, with no shortage of story-lines to follow. Dominance by one team is only one aspect of this season, and the reasons for this dominance are actually quite interesting.

    3. This is funny to read. @timothykatz says in October, 2013 that “it’s GETTING increasingly boring to watch”. I wonder what he thinks now.

  5. I have to agree with Vettel here. Even in 2011, most of the races were fairly close in the end and there was always a chance that a small error by Vettel would have meant that he would have lost the lead.

    This is quite different compared to Schumacher and Barrichello having disappeared out of view after five laps never to be seen again until they lapped most of the field.

  6. I sincerely disagree with Vettel… His dominance is as Schumi´s was back in the day. The only difference is that the cars are a bit more equal today but now… If you are able to pull 2 seconds per lap, that is dominant and it is boring!!
    I just wish we could see him battleing with all the big boys and not running away with it. Maybe that would change my opinion, not that he cares but yeah, maybe it would.

    1. isn’t the whole point to drive as fast as you can in order to win? If watching drivers “drive fast” and winning bore you, there are other more entertaining stuff to watch. Maybe WWF is a good option as its not about the winning but more to entertain fans…

    2. @karter22
      You can’t measure a dominant period on a single race.
      You might not like his dominance, but factually he is absolutely right.
      Look at the results from the Ferrari period. The gaps down to the next non Ferrari car was usually 20’ish seconds. Sometimes twice that.
      The times Vettel has won a race by those margins are quite few.

      1. Coasting. Tyre conservation. Engine conservation. Issues that drivers past did not need consider.

        Vettel has/had the car to win by a much greater margin. It just makes no sense for him to do so.

        1. @ryanisjones
          I can’t imagine that he just coasted around and let Mercedes take one pole after another or that he felt comfortable spending most of the German grand prix with a Lotus clued to his gearbox.
          And what happened in Singapore then? Was he late for dinner with his parents in law?
          I just can’t see why he would coast around on tracks which aren’t too hard on the car, and then go all bazerk on the roughest, toughest, hottest track on the calender. Knowing that a safetycar was much more likely then say, Korea.

          And it actually seems to me like Vettel is not a driver who coasts much. In Canada he was practically the only one pushing and he had a nice gap early on in the race, but he kept taking risks.
          He always try to get the fastest lap of the race towards the end, and when the team tells him to slow down, and he has plenty of a gap to do so. He usually doesn’t.

          1. Pole has nothing to do with it. Of course he does not coast during Q3. However why do you think the times get quicker from Q1 – Q2 on the same tyres? It is because the drivers in the best cars are not driving on the edge. They are driving to a delta time to beat the slower cars. Why would they stress their tyres more than they need too?

            My point is if your car is easily 1.0 second quicker during the race than the next car, and you are already at the front, you are not going to drive on the edge. You will drive 0.7 seconds quicker. You’ll do this to save your engine, tyres etc. Vettel coasts all the time at the front. He speeds for two laps towards the end, and look how mental his team goes when he does it! Because he is unnecessarily stressing the car.

        2. @ryanisjones you are right that Vettel has the car to win by a much greater margin but tire and engine conservation have a much bigger influence in the result these days than before so the drivers can’t ignore those factors without consequence on the final result. Just looks at the Hamilton’s race in Korea. He pushed too hard trying to pass Grosjean, destroying the tires in the procvess, and later he got overtaken by Rosberg, who was fair bit behind in the earlier stages of the race.

          1. Exactly. That is why the gaps produced now, will never be as big as they were before. Because tyres were not an issue back then.

      2. The gaps are pointless since Vettel never pushes to open the gap more than 5-6 seconds because he doesn’t want to take life out of the tyres or because the pitwall wants to play safe with engine conversion etc(lets no forget this engines are used in more than one GP).

        So sorry but Vettel is pulling our leg when he says i only win by 5-6 seconds. The truth is his car has the pace to win by 20-30 second too but he doesn’t due to different circumstances that make it more profitable to just keep a small gap.

    3. @karter22

      If you are able to pull 2 seconds per lap, that is dominant and it is boring

      Which Vettel can’t do. Except on one occasion, when the following car (Rosberg) had rubber debris in its front wing that was costing it 1.7 seconds per lap and holding up its pursuers.

      I can’t help but think some people are quick to exaggerate the extent of the performance advantage Vettel has had at times – without taking the time to consider the known facts – so they can claim it’s all down to the car and diminish his efforts as a driver.

      1. Indeed, if his car were anywhere near as dominant as some of Schumacher’s were, Webber would be finishing second every time Vettel wins a race. He may well be dominating the sport like Schumacher was, but he hasn’t had as easy a time as Schumacher. Vettel’s dominating in a far more competitive field both in terms of cars and drivers.

  7. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    10th October 2013, 10:50

    I get along quite well with him lately

    I’ve noticed they’ve been getting rather chatty on the parade lap.
    It’s good to see. :)

  8. The only reason Vettel isn’t pulling out Schumiesque 30-60 second gaps by the end of the GP is that engines and gear boxes have to last much longer so they need to be preserved. The fact that he can pull out a 2 second gap in one or 2 laps virtually every time so as not to be in DRS range shows that it could be done.

    1. Exactly. It shows his car has the speed to leave everyone behind whenever he wants but is just not in his interest to press too much.

  9. Well many of the races have been closer, yes. Schumacher regularly won with huge margins with the only driver near him being Barrichello. Vettel rarely wins with margins of over say, 10 seconds, but that doesn’t mean it’s ever in any real doubt who’ll win.

    However if you take Schumacher’s championships into consideration from 2000-2003 against Vettel’s championship years 2010-2013 then to me it breaks down as two dominant seasons each: 01,02 for Schumacher and ’11 and ’13 for Vettel.
    Personally I’m enjoying the racing further down the field, and I think much of the racing has improved from say 2002, but Vettel’s dominance is staring to resemble the Schumacher years in a few ways.

  10. I think on this occasion VET is wrong. Had MSC been in a tyre-, cost-, testing- and engine-conservation era, he would have played things exactly the same as VET is now. Winning races at the slowest speed possible. Get the gap, keep it there and respond every time someone starts to catch. The teams know well that questions are asked about legality or at best equality if there are gross differences in performance. They would far rather keep their performance hidden. That Red Bull team combo is awesome, the rest just aren’t any closer than COU, MON, RSC, RAI et al were back in the day.

    Can I also just say to all the VET/ALO/HAM/BUT etc love-or-hate-at-all-costs commenters: “yawn”. I don’t enjoy the bickering on here every day and almost every article. I used to enjoy the discourse far more than now. Please, take your love-ins and petty arguments elsewhere. Stay for the patient and reasoned debate among fanatics of F1 in general first and driver-specific second. (Please don’t trot out the tired “welcome to the internet” jibe either – I’m sure we can all be better than that).

  11. I wanted to say is if you take Korea which I think is more similar to Spa whatsoever the gap was between three and six seconds for the whole race. I think ten years ago it was more like 30 to 60 seconds which is a big difference.

    PR talks , the gap of 3 to 6 seconds was due to the fact that Red Bull were controlling the race, managing the car & the tyres if it was down to Seb and thanks heaven it wasn’t the gap will be at least 20s to 40s at the end of every race how many times we have heard rocky saying “Be Careful” “Just Bring it home” “the gap is good” “easy on the tyres”, in Korea if i’m not wrong he told him that the fastest lap was safe enough so he will not try another one
    This year Seb had the possibility of building a gap of at least 2s before the DRS was activated which is very dominant
    I don’t know why some people are trying to change facts or making some unfair comparisons but in 10 years career at Ferrari Shumacher had only 2 dominant cars 2002 & 2004, Seb in the other hand in 5 years career at Red Bull had 4 and a half dominant cars (the RB5 was the best car in the second half of 2009), Shumacher went to Ferrari when he could have signed with Benetton or Williams and won more WDC and raised the challenge of bringing again the championship to the prancing horse after a long period of failures and when he was winning many people cheered for him, Vettel on the other hand is dominating with Red Bull which i doubt it has a big interest in this sport if it wasn’t for some marketing reasons and this is the main reason why people dislike his domination ,i’m pretty sure if Vettel was dominating the sport with Ferrari or Mclaren or Williams his popularity would have been much bigger than it is now, i think that Vettel era is not like the Shumacher one it is worse than that at least for me

    1. @tifoso1989
      Is this a joke?
      If Vettel could have won every race by 20 seconds by the end of every race, then don’t you think he would actually have actually WON every race?
      Instead of letting everyone else have slices of the cake in the first half of the year, and let Mercedes trounce them in qualifying time after time again.
      Or is that also some evil marketing conspiracy to make the teams efforts seem more hard earned? And therefore… I don’t know what they would gain by that actually.

    2. @tifoso1989

      I don’t know why some people are trying to change facts or making some unfair comparisons but in 10 years career at Ferrari Shumacher had only 2 dominant cars 2002 & 2004, Seb in the other hand in 5 years career at Red Bull had 4 and a half dominant cars (the RB5 was the best car in the second half of 2009)

      You seem to be classing any car Vettel possibly wins in as “dominant”. The RB5, 6 and 8 weren’t dominant. Even the RB7 was like the F2001 (both of which had two competitive, but weaker challengers- Mclaren & Ferrari 2011, Mclaren and Williams 2001).
      2009: RB were the best in the second half of the season, but not “dominant”. Mclaren & Ferrari had improved, and Brawn were still there (with Barrichello winning races, and of course won both championships).
      2010: RB could have been dominant, but were let down by reliability. Resultantly they won less than half the races. The title goes to the final race between four drivers.
      2012: RB were not the fastest car over the season. They merely had the best balance of speed and reliability. They only won 7/20 races.

  12. 2004 San Marino Grand Prix – Button pulled a 2.7 diff gap on the opening lap. This against the 2004 Ferrari. Wonder how many people were slamming Button for that or praising BAR for producing a beast of a car

  13. I agree with him. The combination Red Bull – Vettel might be dominating, but it’s more about the others not always getting everything from every situation. They are not unbeatable, though at this part of the calendar, they always seem to be exactly that.

    In the Fezza-Schumi days, it was always that combo ahead, no matter the day, part of the season, circuit, and so on. These days, it’s all closer. Specially in the first half of each season.

    Afterall, Vettel won 2 of his championships by the skin of his teeth…

  14. Is the second to last paragraph missing anything?

    “Obviously it’s very nice to hear something like that. I think I can only give it back. I think there is respect amongst the drivers, there’s a lot of stuff that gets written and said. I think the most important is when you go up to another drivers

  15. I beg to differ.

    MS needed 24/7 testing and wing guy to win, Vettel is told to hold back most of the time so he’s on 95% or less of the cars potential AND has no support from a second driver and no testing in between races.

    AND he’s still winning easily.

  16. If a driver is able to dominate, I find that difficult to deem as boring. The sport is not designed to help your man, it’s there to find the best driver.

    My only concern is that too many elements are called in to play to create an equilibrium regarding the cars, surely, if someone builds a faster car, isn’t that their advantage.

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