Sebastian Vettel (born July 3, 1987 in Heppenheim, Bergstraße, Hesse, West Germany) is a German Formula One racing driver and a four-time Formula One World Champion, a title which he won for the fourth consecutive time in 2013. He will drive for Ferrari from 2015 alongside Kimi Räikkönen, having previously raced for BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso and Red Bull. Vettel made his début in 2007, replacing injured Polish driver Robert Kubica at the 2007 United States Grand Prix, becoming the first teenager to score a point in F1.
Vettel is currently the holder of numerous records in F1, most notably including Youngest Polesitter, Youngest Race Winner (both ITA 2008), Youngest World Champion, Youngest Double World Champion. Youngest Triple Word Champion, Youngest Quadruple World Champion and Most consecutive victories in consecutive events.
Vettel's first title, 2010, was won at the final race. He had not led the championship until the final race, taking the title off Fernando Alonso. In 2011, Vettel dominated, winning 11 of the 19 races, and taking his second championship with ease. 2012 was a different story, as the RB8 was slow out the blocks, but towards the end it came strong. Vettel was able to win four races in a row to successfully defend his title from Alonso. For 2013, Vettel strolled to his fourth title after a slow start, finishing the season with nine consecutive wins as he broke his 2011 points tally.
Early life and karting
Sebastian Vettel was born on the 3rd July 1987 in Heppenheim, West Germany and was brought up with two older sisters, Melanie and Stefani, and a younger brother, Fabian. Vettel began his racing career at the age of three in 1990. From a very young age, compatriot motor racer Michael Schumacher had been one of Vettel's hero's and inspirations. In 1994 at the age of seven, Vettel met his hero for the first time after winning a local karting event. Schumacher would go on to win his first Formula One World Championship shortly afterwards.
In 1997, Vettel began to move into professional Karting categories. Between 1997 and 2000, Vettel consecutively won each of the DMV and NRW German Championships in each of their respective seasons. In 2001, Vettel went on to win the ICA Junior Eureopean Karting Championship. Remaining in the category for 2002, Vettel performed less successfully to finish the championship in sixth position.
Formula BMW ADAC (2003–2004)
For 2003, Vettel made a further step in his motor racing career inwhich he began competing in single-seaters joining the Formula BMW ADAC series within his homeland of Germany. Vettel joined the Eifelland Racing Team partnering Andreas Wirth, a driver who was competing in his second season of Formula BMW. Despite this, Vettel was able to consistently outmatch his teammate at nearly every event and went on to take a total of five wins, five pole positions and twelve podiums throughout the nineteen race season. These results were enough for him to finish second in the championship behind Maximilian Götz.
Vettel opted to remain in Formula BMW for 2004 however switched from Eifelland Racing to the Berlin-Brandenburg team. Vettel would go on to completely dominate the rest of the field taking eighteen wins out of the twenty race season and of the two races he did not win, he would not finish lower than a third place in the race.
Formula Three (2005–2006)
After his success in Formula BMW, Vettel would move up a category for the 2005 season, joining the Formula 3 Euro Series competing for the German ASL Mücke Motorsport team. The season would start off rather slow for Vettel in which he struggled to produce any particularly strong results during the first half of the season, however towards the end of the season Vettel began to regularly challenge the front runners. Vettel would regularly challenge Championship leader and eventual winner, Lewis Hamilton for the lead but ultimately would always finish second to his British rival. Vettel would finish the season fifth in the championship with five podiums within the twenty races that season.
Vettel would also compete in the prestigious F3 races at the Macau Grand Prix and the Masters of Formula 3. Vettel performed strongly in the Macau Grand Prix, finishing the race in third behind Lucas di Grassi and Robert Kubica. The Masters of Formula 3 race would see him perform less well, taking only an eleventh place finish in the race.
Vettel would go on to compete a second season in Formula Three with the ASL Mücke Motorsport team. Vettel was partnered with fellow future F1 racers Paul di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi and Giedo van der Garde as teammates.
Vettel would prove to be a title contender from the first race, both he and teammate Paul di Resta shared a strong rivalry in fighting for the championship. By the mid-point of the season both Vettel and Di Resta were nearly equal in the title race. However an accident in the Formula Renault series nearly severed off one of his fingers, the accident was predicted to keep him out of the Championship for the rest of the season however he would return to the cockpit for the very next F3 race at Zandvoort only four weeks after his accident. Whilst his almost immediate recovery proved to be a surprise to everyone in the paddock, Vettel failed to be able to compete to the best of his ability for the rest of the season and was forced to succede the title to teammate Di Resta.
Formula Renault (2006–2007)
Vettel was given two guest appearances within the World Series by Renault with Carlin Motorsport at the Misano and Spa-Francorchamps rounds of the 2006 Championship. Vettel immediately adjusted well to the category and in his first race at Misano he finished in second position before at the following race he managed to take a win in the series after original winner Pastor Maldonado was disqualified from the race. However a repeat of his Misano success would not be possible at Spa-Francorchamps after mid-way through the first race Vettel spun on a wet track at Eau Rouge slamming into the barrier. The debris from the accident had sliced open one of his fingers, nearly severing the entire finger from his hand. The accident would keep him out of the racing action for the rest of the weekend, however the young German suffered a relatively minor injury in what could have been an incident that finished his Grand Prix career.
Although only briefly appearing in the World Series by Renault in 2006, Vettel opted to move into the series full-time for the 2007 season. Vettel would once again compete for Carlin Motorsport and from the very beginning of the season proved to be a strong title contender. Vettel took a win at his home-race at the Nurburgring and had taken two other podium finishes throughout the season. However despite leading the Championship by the end of the Hungarian round of the Championship, Vettel opted to leave the series in order to join the Toro Rosso team in Formula One as a full-time race driver for the rest of the season.
Formula One (2005–present)
2005: WilliamsAfter Vettel's success in the Formula BMW category, which saw him win nearly all the races and take a convincing victory in the championship, Vettel was invited to partake in a Formula One test for 2005 by BMW with their sponsored Formula One team at Williams-BMW. On the 27th September 2005, Vettel drove a Formula One car for the first time at a test session in the Circuito de Jerez alongside Williams race driver Mark Webber and Williams test driver Nico Rosberg. Vettel spent approximately three hours in the Williams FW27 and completed a total of 25 laps of the circuit.
2006–2007: BMW Sauber
In 2006, BMW purchased a majority stake in the Sauber F1 Team, renaming the team to BMW Sauber. Vettel's association with BMW would continue into the new team despite the fact of its move from Williams. On the 6th July 2006, Vettel competed in his second Formula One test session alongside the team's test driver Robert Kubica. Vettel had a much more extensive test session than his previous F1 test with Williams, completing a total of 83 laps for the BMW Sauber team.
In August 2006, BMW race driver Jacques Villeneuve would resign from the racing team promoting the team's reserve driver Robert Kubica to the full time race seat. As a result, Sebastian Vettel would be promoted to the team's reserve driver from the Turkish Grand Prix onwards. As the reserve driver, Vettel would partake in the first practice sessions for the BMW Sauber team for the rest of the season. In his first Grand Prix meeting at Turkey, Vettel set the fastest practice time out of all the drivers for the first practice session of the weekend. Vettel would go on to set the fastest practice time of the afternoon Friday session of the 2006 Italian Grand Prix directly after the Turkish meeting.
Vettel would remain the Friday test driver for the final three races of the season at China, Japan and Brazil, competing in all of the Friday practice sessions as well as partaking in non-Grand Prix test sessions at Monza and Silverstone.
2007For the 2007 Formula One Season, Vettel continued in his role as the test and reserve driver for the BMW Sauber team. Vettel was involved in a significant amount of pre-seasont testing with the team and was invited to compete in the Friday practice sessions of the first two rounds of the championship at Australia and Malaysia. As well as this Vettel did extensive testing mileage and evaluation for the team throughout the season on the teams' F1.07 car.
When regular driver Robert Kubica suffered a serious accident at the Canadian Grand Prix which left him injured with a concussion and sprained ankle, it was announced he could not compete in the following event at the United States Grand Prix. Being the reserve driver, Vettel was called up to replace the injured Kubica for the weekend. Despite being unfamiliar with the Indianapolis circuit, Vettel managed to impress during the practice sessions, consistently being among the fastest cars in the field. In qualifying Vettel continued to impress putting his car seventh on the grid only two places behind teammate Nick Heidfeld. The race started less well with Vettel dropping back four places before the first corner. Vettel managed to claw his way back to eighth before the conclusion of the race and was beginning to pressure the Red Bull of Mark Webber before crossing the finishing line. At only nineteen years of age, Vettel became the youngest driver to score a point in Formula One by finishing in eighth position.
For the next race at the French Grand Prix, Robert Kubica resumed his race seat within the team relegating Vettel back into his role as the team's test and reserve driver.
2007–2008: Toro Rosso
After Vettel's impressive performance in the United States Grand Prix, Vettel attracted the attention of the Toro Rosso team. Toro Rosso was the B-Team' to that of the main Red Bull Racing team, Vettel being apart of Red Bull's young driver programme. On the 31st July 2007, Vettel was confirmed to be replacing the underperforming Scott Speed in the team, partnering Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi for the rest of the season. Two days later it was announced Vettel had been signed on for the 2008 season as well.
The Friday practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix would be the first time Vettel would get the opportunity to drive the 2008 Toro Rosso challenger. As a result Vettel struggled in qualifying, managing only 20th in qualifying then going on for a quiet race to finish in 16th place. The following race in Turkey was equally unimpressive with Vettel only finishing a disappointing 20th, suffering an engine stall during his first pit-stop during the race.
After a disappointing opening two races for Toro Rosso, Vettel was able to for the first time conduct a proper test session with the Toro Rosso team at Monza in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix. Vettel performed well in qualifying, finishing the session 16th, three places above teammate Liuzzi. The race proved to be more disappointing with Vettel running into the back of the Super Aguri of Anthony Davidson and going on to finish a lowly 18th. Vettel suffered another disappointing result in Belgium, retiring on the eighth lap with steering issues.Vettel finally got a change of fortunes in the Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway. Vettel impressed in qualifying, qualifying a respectable ninth position significantly ahead of teammate Liuzzi. The Japanese Grand Prix suffered from a heavy rain downpour which would see an eventful race in which many cars would aquaplane off the circuit with many cars retiring. Vettel however was able to continue strongly, slowly making his way up the field. On lap 41, the safety car came out after race leader Fernando Alonso spun out of the race. Vettel found himself in third place behind the Red Bull of Mark Webber and the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton. However disaster would occur when on lap 45, Vettel rammed into the back of Webber's Red Bull after misjudging his braking point behind the Red Bull. Both drivers retired, Mark Webber heavily criticised the young German for the accident and Vettel himself, was seen crying in the Toro Rosso garage after causing the incident. Vettel would be given a ten-place grid drop for the next race in China, but this was reduced by the stewards to a reprimand upon further review.
Despite getting his ten-place grid drop revoked, Vettel would go on to get a five-place grid drop in China after blocking the Renault of Heikki Kovalainen on his best flying lap. Vettel's penalty meant he would start the race from 17th on grid. The race, being one held in mixed conditions would provide a strong recovery after his mishap in Japan. Vettel would climb the order to finish a commendable fourth place, providing Toro Rosso with their best result as of that point in their career.
The final race of the season proved to be a disappointment with Vettel retiring with Hydraulics issues.
For the new season, Vettel would continue to race with the Scuderia Toro Rosso team, joined by a new teammate for the new season four time CART champion Sébastien Bourdais who would be making his Formula One debut in 2008. Toro Rosso appeared to be competitive during pre-season testing, Vettel participating in a single test for the main Red Bull Racing team in Barcelona at the end of February, substituting for race driver David Coulthard who had suffered a neck injury.
The first race in Australia demonstrated Vettel's pace making it into the third qualifying session before being forced to pull out of the session due to an oil pump failure. Despite this, Vettel would start in a competitive tenth on the grid for the first race of the season. Unfortunately for him, the race would not go as planned, Vettel stalled on the grid causing him to drop multiple places at the start and then at the third corner, Vettel was involved in a collision that saw himself, Mark Webber, Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson taken out of the race.
The result in Australia would be a recurring pattern for much of the start of the season. The next race in Malaysia, saw Vettel and Toro Rosso well off the pace, qualifying a lowly 15th and retiring from the race with hydraulics issues. Then in Bahrain, Vettel would qualify a lowly 19th and despite making a strong start, he collided with the Force India of Adrian Sutil forcing him to retire from the race. Ironically the following race at the Spanish Grand Prix saw Vettel and Sutil collide again at the first corner when the out of control Sutil spun out after attempting to overtake David Coulthard, Vettel could do nothing to avoid hitting the Force India driver. The Turkish Grand Prix saw Vettel finish a race for the first time that season, but not without suffering a puncture on the first lap and refuelling problems which saw no fuel enter the car during one of his pit-stops, forcing him to finish a lowly 17th.
It had been a disappointing start to the new season for Toro Rosso, both Vettel and Bourdais struggling to make the best of the new car. However for round six, a revised chassis of the Toro Rosso STR3 was introduced which would see a dramatic change of fortunes for Vettel for the rest of the season.
The revised and much more improved chassis would provide Vettel with his first opportunity to perform in a more competitive car. Vettel, however was not able to maximise the car's potential in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, ending up in 18th place, two places behind teammate Bourdais. The race would, however, see a dramatic change in fortunes. The mixed conditions that engulfed the race enabled many of the backmarkers to make up significant ground in the race. With many cars being involved in collisions and retirements in the race, including Vettel's teammate Bourdais, Vettel would be among the lucky few to benefit in these conditions, climbing to fifth position by the conclusion of the race. Awarding Toro Rosso with some valuable points in the championship.
Likewise in the next race in Canada, Vettel's fortunes would be dismal in qualifying, failing to participate due to damage caused by an accident in the final free practice session. Nonetheless, Vettel was able to climb the field during the race and finish in a competitive eighth position, gaining another point in the championship.
A further upgrade for the new Toro Rosso chassis was introduced for the French Grand Prix, further boosting the new car's potential. Vettel qualified a competitive twelfth on the grid, with Bourdais right behind him. Whilst he was unable to make up much ground in the race, finishing in the same place he started. Vettel was able to ensure that the more competitive BMW Sauber car of Nick Heidfeld remained behind him throughout the race, teammate Bourdais would struggle dropping a lap behind Vettel being significantly off the pace.
Further improvements were demonstrated in Britain as Vettel qualified a competitive eighth on the grid. It would all be for naught though in the race as on the first lap whilst trying to avoid Felipe Massa's Ferrari that had spun onto the circuit, Vettel was hit by the Red Bull of David Coulthard, taking both himself and Coulthard out of the race.
Following Britain, Vettel would establish a clear advantage not only over teammate Bourdais but also the works Red Bull Racing team, often outperforming both Mark Webber and David Coulthard. For Vettel's home race in Germany, Vettel split the two Red Bull's of Webber and Coulthard to qualify in ninth position. Vettel would finish the race in eighth, ahead of both the Red Bull's. Vettel would retire from the Hungarian Grand Prix due to overheating issues. However starting from the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Vettel would begin to put in a consistent run of high points finishing positions.
Vettel qualified sixth on the grid in Valencia, significantly higher than Bourdais and the Red Bull cars. He would then go on to finish the race in the same position he had started. The Belgian Grand Prix proved to be a competitive race for both himself and teammate Bourdais. Another race held in mixed conditions, Vettel managed to climb from his tenth grid spot up into fifth position by the end of the race.The next race at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza proved to be a historic race for both Vettel and the Toro Rosso team. Both Vettel and Bourdais were competitive throughout the practice sessions, yet it was qualifying and the race that they appeared to be most competitive. Qualifying was held in extremely wet conditions, many of the frontrunners including Ferrari and McLaren were caught out in qualifying and struggled to set the pace. This allowed the mid-field runners such as Toro Rosso to thrive, Vettel proved to be highly competitive setting the fastest time in the final qualifying session, becoming the youngest person in the history of Formula One to take pole position. Mark Webber in the Red Bull was third and teammate Bourdais was fourth. Like in qualifying, the race would be held in wet conditions. For safety reasons, the race was started behind the safety car, and when the safety car pulled into the pits on the second lap, Vettel immediately began to extend his lead over the McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen in second position. By lap eight, Vettel had created a gap of 6.3 seconds over the McLaren driver. Throughout the race, despite being in an inferior car to his competitors Vettel was able to extend and maintain a gap to his rivals throughout the race. Vettel would go on to win the Italian Grand Prix, 12.5 seconds clear of Kovalainen in second. The race would mark both his and Toro Rosso's first win as well as Vettel claiming both records of the youngest driver to gain pole position and a race win in the history of the sport.
The next race in Singapore, proved to be another successful race for Vettel. Qualifying in a competitive sixth position, significantly ahead of the Red Bull cars in 13th and 14th, and a now particularly demoralised Bourdais in 17th. Vettel managed to survive an action-filled Singapore Grand Prix to see himself finish in a strong fifth position, once again proving stronger then the other Red Bull powered cars.
Whilst only managing to qualify ninth in Japan, Vettel was able to finish a competitive sixth in the race due to retirements from a few of the cars ahead of him, further increasing his points tally in the championship. The Chinese Grand Prix would prove to be more humbling, finishing only in ninth position, narrowly missing out in a points scoring position due to issues with the front left wheel gun in Vettel's second pitstop.
The final race of the season in Brazil saw Vettel put in another strong performance in a race held in mixed conditions. Qualifying in seventh, Vettel would put in a strong performance competing amongst the front runners for the duration of the race. Vettel just prior to end of the race managed to pass the McLaren of championship contender Lewis Hamilton for fifth place. On the last lap of the race, Vettel got passed the Toyota of Timo Glock to take fourth, Hamilton behind him also managed to get passed Glock at the same corner, notably being the move that won him that year's championship.
Vettel had finished that year's championship in eighth position, a respectable result considering that the Toro Rosso quite often did not have the pace of the front runners. Vettel's achievements had allowed him to leapfrog the works Red Bull cars of David Coulthard and Mark Webber in the championship. Vettel had also dominated his teammate Sebastien Bourdais throughout the entire season. Primarily due to Vettel's work, Toro Rosso would infact finish ahead of Red Bull in the constructor's championship finishing a commendable sixth with Red Bull directly behind in seventh.
2009–2014: Red Bull Racing
Vettel's phenomenal 2008 season in the less than competitive Toro Rosso, had earned him a drive with the factory Red Bull team for the 2009 season. Vettel had been confirmed by Red Bull in July 2008, shortly after the annoucement of former driver David Coulthard that he was retiring at the end of the 2008 season. For the 2009 season, Vettel would be partnered by the experienced Australian driver Mark Webber who was embarking his third season with the Red Bull team. Vettel began pre-season testing with the team in November 2008 which would continue on into March 2009 shortly before the first race in Australia. The significant change in regulations for the 2009 season would mark a new era in Formula One, providing Red Bull the perfect opportunity to close the gap to the front-runners.When the team's arrived in Australia for the first Grand Prix of the season, it was evident that Red Bull were extremely quick and proved to be potential championship contenders. However, Vettel and Red Bull were edged out in qualifying by the Brawn cars driven by Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. The Vettel lined up third on the grid but was significantly slower than the Brawn's. The Brawn's pace was largely attributed to their double diffusor in which the legality had been questioned by the Red Bull team. In the race, Vettel was able to make it into second place behind the Brawn of Jenson Button, there he would hold station for much of the race. Whilst Vettel was quick he was not able to make any ground on the Brawn driver. As the race neared its conclusion, Vettel came under significant pressure from the BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica. With two laps to go, Vettel made a mistake into turn 1 allowing Kubica to have a run at him whilst going into turn 3, Vettel however closed the door and the two collided. Both cars suffered damage and as the two cars entered turn 5, they both lost downforce and speared into the wall. Kubica retired immediately whilst Vettel attempted to continue for a further lap with his left front wheel bent inwards, before he opted to retire. Vettel was attributed the blame for the incident by the stewards and handed a ten place grid penalty for Malaysia and the Red Bull team was fined $50 000 for allowing Vettel to continue for so long with such significant damage.
Despite qualifying a competitive third on the grid for Malaysia, Vettel due to his grid penalty was dropped down to thirteenth on the grid. The race would prove to be little improvement for Vettel. The race was held in torrentially wet conditions and Vettel caught out on the intermediate tyre was one of many drivers to be caught out in the wet conditions and aquaplaned off the circuit and into retirement. It had been a disappointing start to the season, losing significant ground to his Brawn rivals with Button taking his second win of the season and teammate Mark Webber who took his first points of the season.
The Chinese Grand Prix would be a significant improvement for the Red Bull team over their success in the previous two events. Vettel would claim Red Bull's first ever pole position ahead of the Renault of Fernando Alonso and teammate Mark Webber. The Brawn's for the first time appeared vulnerable, only qualifying fourth and fifth with Barrichello ahead of Button. The start of the race was run under the safety car until the end of lap 8 due to the heavy rain and once the racing commenced Vettel was able to establish an advantage streaking ahead of his rivals. The wet race saw many incidents, Vettel himself was involved in a collision when lapping the backmarker of Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso. Despite this Vettel was able to hold a firm lead over the race despite the constant presence of teammate Webber and the Brawn cars that where never far behind. Vettel ended the race in first place ahead of teammate Webber and championship leader Jenson Button to take Red Bull's first Formula One victory.
For the fourth round in Bahrain, Vettel was only able to qualify in third position behind the Toyota's of Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock. Despite this he was crucially ahead of fellow championship contenders teammate Webber and the Brawn cars. Vettel made a poor start in the race and lost positions to both Jenson Button and the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton dropping down to fifth position. After the first round of pit-stops Vettel was able to gain places on both Timo Glock and Lewis Hamilton and was battling the Toyota of Jarno Trulli for second position, Button taking a commanding lead of the race in his Brawn. Vettel was able to get past Trulli in the second round of pitstops but was hounded by the Toyota driver right to the chequered flag. Vettel took some valuable points in second but once again the Red Bull proved to be second best to the Brawn as Button continued to streak ahead in the championship.
Round 5 at the Spanish Grand Prix saw Vettel qualify in second place, splitting the Brawn's with Button in first and Barrichello in third. Vettel made another poor start and dropped behind Barrichello and the Ferrari of Felipe Massa at the start. Vettel would find himself stuck behind the Ferrari of Massa for most of the afternoon, despite being consistently faster the Ferrari proved impossible to pass and teammate Webber was able to make ground over Vettel and Massa in the pitstops to take third position. Vettel was eventually able to make it past the Ferrari when Massa began to run out of fuel to take fourth behind teammate Webber and the two Brawn's. The Brawn team continued to exert its dominance in the championship and Vettel lost second place in the championship standings to Rubens Barrichello.
Monaco would prove to be a disappointing race for Vettel, qualifying did not go to plan only managing fourth on the grid behind the Brawn cars and Kimi Räikkönen's Ferrari. He then proved uncompetitive in the race and despite being able to keep up with the top three for a time, he then began to suffer severe tyre degradation and dropped significantly off the pace. Then on the fifteenth lap, Vettel made a mistake into the first corner and hit the barriers forcing himself to retire. Vettel's disappointing day allowed the Brawn's to make further ground in the championship with their 1-2 finish and teammate Webber and gained within 3 points of Vettel in the championship.
The Turkish Grand Prix saw a return to competitiveness for Vettel as he dominated all three parts of qualifying to take pole ahead of championship leader Jenson Button. Although managing to get away in the lead at the start, Vettel made a mistake in turn 9 and let the Brawn driver through to take the lead. In the pit-stops Vettel lost ground to teammate Mark Webber who took second position. Vettel had begun to challenge Webber before the end and had closed the gap to 0.7 seconds before the chequered flag, forcing Vettel to concede his challenge finishing the race in third position behind his championship rivals.
For the next race in Britain, Red Bull had significantly updated their car implementing their own version of the double diffusor, the device believed to be the reason behind Brawn's competitive advantage over the rest of the field. Red Bull's new found competitiveness was evident as Vettel dominated the qualifying session with teammate Webber in third position. Barrichello had managed to split the Red Bull's in second but championship leader Button struggled to qualify in sixth place. At the start Vettel immediately began pulling away and began to set fastest laps, he would then go on to dominate the race with teammate Webber finishing second ahead of Barrichello. The race was a success for Red Bull, gaining some crucial points in the championship as they attempted to chase down the Brawn leaders.
Red Bull continued to be competitive in Germany, the Brawn's and Red Bull's battling for pole position. Vettel came out the worst qualifying fourth behind Button and Barrichello as teammate Webber took his first pole position. The first lap proved difficult for Vettel as he was overtaken by the Ferrari of Felipe Massa and the McLaren's of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen. However due to his team's strategy, Vettel was able to stage a fightback and clawed his way back to second position by the end of the race, finishing once again ahead of the Brawn cars and behind teammate Webber who took his first Formula One victory. The result enabled to Vettel to reclaim second in the championship standings from Rubens Barichello, Vettel now 21 points behind the leader Jenson Button.
The Hungarian Grand Prix saw Red Bull hold a significant advantage over their Brawn rivals. Despite missing out on pole position to Renault's Fernando Alonso, Vettel qualified second with teammate Webber third. The Brawn's stuck in the mid-field. Vettel made a poor start off the line letting Hamilton, Webber and Räikkönen through at the start. As they ran down to the first corner, Vettel hit the rear of Räikkönen damaging his front wing. The incident enabled Heikki Kovalainen and Nico Rosberg to get passed Vettel as well. Vettel then ran an uncompetitive race and on lap 29 he was forced to retire due to a suspension failure, presumed to be caused by his accident with Räikkönen at the start. As a result Vettel lost second in the championship standings to teammate Webber who took third in the race.
The next round for the European Grand Prix saw Vettel qualified fourth behind the now rejuvinated McLaren team of Hamilton and Kovalainen, as well as championship rival Rubens Barrichello. Vettel dropped to fifth at the start behind Kimi Räikkönen, despite remaining with the leaders and competing with race leader Hamilton, Vettel's hopes for victory were ruined after his first pit stop when the fuel pump failed to work forcing him to stop again the following lap. Worst still he suffered an engine failure on lap 23 sending him into retirement. Vettel's poor results in the past two races saw him drop further in the championship down into fourth place with Rubens Barrichello jumping to second ahead of himself and teammate Webber.
Things did not appear to improve during the qualifying session for the next race in Belgium. Both Vettel and Webber struggled in qualifying managing only eighth and ninth on the grid, losing out to the Brawn of Barrichello who qualfied fourth. Championship leader Button however was also struggling and only managed fourteenth. The race would however prove to be much more favourable for Vettel. At the start Barrichello nearly stalled sending him to the back of the grid while on the first lap Button retired in a collision at turn 4. Vettel would go on to drive a solid race to finish in third place behind Kimi Räikkönen and Giancarlo Fisichella. Vettel took some valuable points off his championship contenders with Button retiring and Barrichello only finishing seventh and Webber in eighth. The result enabled Vettel to reclaim third in the championship standings, nineteen points off Jenson Button's lead.
The Italian Grand Prix would prove to be yet another disappointment for Vettel in his championship bid. Red Bull appeared uncompetitive in qualifying once again, Vettel lining up ninth with Webber tenth. The Brawn cars lining up fifth and sixth on the grid. The race would be another disappointment as Vettel appeared to be unable to compete with the front runners and would finish the race in eighth place. Teammate Webber retired while the Brawn cars finished the race first and second, with Barrichello leading Button.
The situation improved slightly by Singapore with Vettel starting on the front row of the grid, losing out to Lewis Hamilton in gaining the pole position. Nonetheless Vettel was crucially ahead of all his championship rivals. Vettel eager for a race win duelled with the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton throughout the race. Despite losing his right wing mirror and damaging the underside of his car, Vettel continued to pressure the reigning champion. However his victory hopes were denied when the stewards handed him a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Due to this delay Vettel dropped to fourth, a position he would remain in until the end of the race. Vettel was unable to take out any significant amount of points from his championship rivals, with Button and Barrichello finishing fifth and sixth. Webber's retirement in Singapore eliminated him from championship contention, with Vettel, Button and Barrichello left to fight for the title with three races to go.
Desperate to keep his championship hopes alive, Vettel dominated the qualifying sessions in Japan to take pole position in the race, notably being significantly ahead of the Brawn cars. Vettel would go on to dominate the race, leading away from pole position where he would never be challenged by any of his competitors by the time the chequred flag dropped at the end of the race. Vettel had now closed within three points of Rubens Barrichello in the championship but remained a significant seventeen points behind Button in the championship.With Button able to win the championship in Brazil, both Vettel and Barrichello had to capitalise a strong points finish to ensure the title fight went on into the last race. Qualifying proved to be a disaster for Vettel managing sixteenth in the mixed conditions. He was consoled by the fact that Button started only two positions ahead of him, yet Barrichello had managed to take pole for his home Grand Prix. The Red Bull appeared competitive in the race and despite a collision with Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren on the opening lap, Vettel was able to stage a strong comeback drive. Vettel managed to climb the field and get passed both Button and Barrichello, who failed to maximise his pole position standing. Despite climbing up to fourth by the end of the race, Vettel lost the championship to Button who finished the race a single position behind Vettel. Teammate Webber went on to win the race whilst Barrichello finished a disappointing eighth. Vettel had managed to take second place in the championship in the race, two points ahead of Barrichello.
Despite the championship being lost in Brazil, Vettel could still claim second in the driver's standings in the last race in Abu Dhabi. Vettel was two points ahead of competitor Barrichello for the runner-up honours in the championship. Vettel missed out on pole position to Lewis Hamilton, yet remained ahead of Barrichello who started the race fourth. Like in Singapore Vettel would duel Hamilton for the race lead, Vettel would take the lead from Hamilton after the first round of pit-stops. Hamilton would later go on to retire with brake failure. Vettel would appear unchallenged for the rest of the race, taking a seventeen second win over teammate Webber and the Brawn's of Button and Barrichello.
Vettel would secure second in the driver's standings with Red Bull also finishing second in the constructor's standings behind their Brawn rivals. Jenson Button and Brawn's early season domination had given them such a strong advantage that even with their slump in performance in the second half of the season, Vettel and Webber were unable to catch Button who had managed to win six of the first seven races in the championship.
Despite missing out on the championship in 2009, Red Bull and Vettel had built the foundation for success in 2009 and were expected to be formidable opponent in 2010. Despite pre-season problems in missing the first test in Valencia, both Vettel and Webber appeared to be quick going into the first race. However nonetheless Ferrari and McLaren looked equally competitive heading into round 1 in Bahrain.
The Bahrain qualifying saw Vettel in a highly competitive position taking pole position for the first race of the season, however the Ferrari's of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso as well as Lewis Hamilton's McLaren appeared particularly competitive in qualifying. However despite these challenges, Vettel would go on to lead a dominant race in Bahrain up until the moment he had a spark plug failure which saw a significant drop in performance in his car. With 20 laps to go Vettel dropped to fourth position as the Ferrari's and Hamilton overtook him for the lead. It was a disappointing outcome in which Vettel appeared to have the race completely within his control. Teammate Webber also finished disappointingly, only taking an eighth place finish.
Qualifying in Australia confirmed the pace of the Red Bull as the two cars lined up first and second on the grid with Vettel ahead of Webber. Once again Vettel led away from pole position and despite the occasional challenges from Felipe Massa and Mark Webber, Vettel controlled the first stint of the race. Entering the second stint, Vettel was challenged by Jenson Button's McLaren but Vettel was seemingly able to manage the gap. That was until lap 25 when a failure on Vettel's wheel hub sent him spinning into the gravel and into retirement. A second potential win was wasted with Vettel losing many valuable points in the championship to the McLaren and Ferrari drivers.
Vettel appeared quick once again in qualifying in Malaysia but lost pole position to teammate Webber, then being bumped down to third by Nico Rosberg's Mercedes. The race appeared to be a good chance for the Red Bull drivers to gain points back after the disappointing start to season as the McLaren and Ferrari drivers languished at the tail end of the field due to an error in tyre choice in the mixed conditions. At the start Vettel immediately overtook both Rosberg and Webber and went on to dominate the race, a trend that was becoming atypical of the young German once he had consolidated his lead. Webber was second with Rosberg third in the race. With the Ferrari's and McLaren's languishing in the mid-field, Vettel was now able to gain second place in the driver's standings, being on a equal 37 points to Fernando Alonso, two points behind Felipe Massa.
The Red Bull qualifying superiority was proved once again as Vettel and Webber locked out the front row of the grid once again. The race started with light rain and most of the front runners started on intermediate tyres. Fernando Alonso managed to get the jump on the Red Bull's at the start and take the lead but it was later revealed he had jumped the start and would have to pay a drive through penalty. The rain failed to intensify as predicted and most of the front-runners were forced to pit for dry tyres. This meant the Red Bull's and many other front runners lost serious ground and Vettel and Webber dropped to the mid-field. Vettel was able to climb his way back up to sixth, but the McLaren's of Button and Hamilton took a 1-2 finish in the race, Vettel also losing out to Rosberg who finished third and Alonso who finished fourth. This meant Vettel dropped to fifth in the championship behind Button, Rosberg, Hamilton and Alonso.
Red Bull locked out the front row again in Spain with Webber beating Vettel to pole position. At the start the Red Bull's began to pull a gap from third place driver Lewis Hamilton. However after a slow pit-stop Vettel lost second place to that of Lewis Hamilton dropping down to third. To further damage his race, Vettel began to suffer from braking issues sending him off the circuit on lap 54. It was evident that Vettel was suffering from braking issues and began to rapidly drop off the pace, losing third place to Alonso. Vettel however was able to salvage his race and still make valuable points gains when he was promoted to third when Hamilton suffered a tyre blowout on the last lap and retired. Vettel was promoted to third in the championship passing both Hamilton and Rosberg. Vettel now only 10 points off championship leader Button. However teammate Webber was gaining ground in the championship after taking victory in Spain.
At Monaco, the Red Bull's maintained control over the qualifying session however once again it was Webber who held the advantage over Vettel to take pole. Vettel was denied second place and dropped to third when Robert Kubica put in a strong performance to qualify second. At the start Vettel was able to get by Kubica at the first corner and consolidate his second position behind teammate Webber. Webber like in Spain proved to be too quick and Vettel was unable to challenge him. The race concluded with Webber taking the win, with Vettel in second and Kubica third. The Red Bull's taking valuable points from their competitors who struggled throughout the race in comparison to their own team. Red Bull took the lead in the Constructor's Championship and Vettel was now second to Webber in the Championship but on an equal 78 points, his Australian teammate however had proved to be consistently quicker in the last three races.As the team's arrived in Turkey, the rivalry between Vettel and Webber was becoming more intense, the two driver's equally led the championship both of whom wishing to prove they were strongest within the team. Vettel once again lost pole to Webber, dropping to third behind Hamilton who managed to steal second place from him. At the start Vettel disposed of Hamilton to take second position behind his teammate. Webber and Vettel began to pull away but began to later face challenges from the McLaren's of Hamilton and Button. Vettel determined to take the lead from Webber attempted an overtake on lap 39, however he botched the overtake and the two Red Bull's collided. The incident ended Vettel's race and ruined Webber's. Webber finishing third as the McLaren's went on to take a 1-2 finish, taking the lead of the Constructor's Championship from Red Bull. Due to Vettel's retirement he dropped from second to fifth in the championship behind Hamilton, Button and Alonso. The incident between Vettel and Webber was highly controversial. Whilst most of the media lay blame of the incident upon Vettel. Vettel and Red Bull appeared to suggest that the blame lay at Webber's door, suggesting he should have let Vettel through due to the fact he was in fuel conservation mode. Red Bull's reaction suggested the first major divide between Webber and Vettel as well as the first step in adopting Vettel as their number 1 driver within the team. As shown from the 2013 season review, Vettel was extremely upset about the incident and said "I'm going home" on his team radio.
Canada was the next venue on the calendar, and despite the internal political crisis after Turkey, Red Bull were still expected to be the pace setters in Montreal. The Red Bull's proved to be quick again, but both Vettel and Webber were denied pole position by the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton. Webber took second on the grid ahead of teammate Vettel. However, due to a gearbox change Webber would drop five places on the grid, leaving Vettel to line-up on the front row alongside Hamilton. At the start Hamilton led away ahead of Vettel, Alonso and Button. Hamilton appeared to be in control of the race with Vettel holding station behind him in second place. However Vettel's race would be compromised when his Red Bull began to suffer from an unspecified problem, effectively crippling his race. Vettel dropped to fourth behind Button and Alonso and as the race came to a close, came under serious pressure from teammate Webber. It was another disappointing day for Red Bull losing significant ground to McLaren, who had taken their second 1-2 finish in a row, as well as dropping further behind the ever consistent Fernando Alonso in the championship.
Fortunes improved in Valencia for the European Grand Prix, the Red Bull's dominated qualifying with Vettel setting the fastest times in all three qualifying sessions ahead of teammate Webber. Vettel maintained his lead into the corner, although his car was buffetered by Lewis Hamilton's McLaren who botched his overtaking manoeuvere on Vettel going into the first corner. Vettel led away ahead of Hamilton and Webber. Webber would be eliminated from the race after flipping his car over the back of Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus. Despite the occasional challenge from Hamilton, Vettel maintained control of the race to take another lights to flag victory. Jenson Button took third in the race, despite the strong result, Vettel and Red Bull were still significantly off the McLaren's in the championship, the result however enabled Vettel to climb back up to third in the championship.The British Grand Prix would be the scene of another internal controversy within the Red Bull team. The team had brought a new aerodynamic package that included an upgrade to the front wing, however when Vettel's new revised wing broke during free practice, the team opted to take the remaining updated wing from Webber's car and place it on Vettel's for qualifying and the race. The team justified it as a strategic decision on placing it on Vettel's car based on the fact he was higher in the championship. Webber however saw it as another event which demonstrated that the team was favouring Vettel in the championship. The Red Bull's lined up first and second on the grid, Vettel taking the pole position. After qualifying, it was evident that Webber was highly aggrovated and disillusioned with the team following the qualifying controversy. At the start of the race Webber utilised his anger to great effect and bullied his way past Vettel at the first corner, Lewis Hamilton also went for the overtake, but like in Valencia the two made contact but this time Vettel suffered a puncture, effectively ruining his race forcing him to pit and rejoin at the back of the field. A safety car period allowed Vettel to catch up to the rest of the field, allowing him to stage a comeback climbing back up to seventh by the race end. Vettel however had once again lost out to the McLaren's, teammate Webber took third place in the driver's standings from Vettel following his dominant victory in Britain.
Vettel's home grand prix in Germany was the next round in the championship, Vettel proved to be quick and qualifying and took pole position, but saw significant challenge from the now resurgent Ferrari team with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa lining up second and third. As the car's pulled away from the grid, the Ferrari's made the best start, Alonso overtaking Vettel into the first corner however Massa got the jump on them both and took the lead. Vettel unable to compete with the Ferrari's maintained position in third as the Ferrari cars pulled into the distance. The race would be marked by controversy as the Ferrari of Massa would be forced to let teammate Alonso through under veiled team orders. The now demotivated Massa dropped off the pace significantly and was challenged by Vettel at the end of the race, but Vettel was unable to take second away from the Ferrari driver.
At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel once again took pole ahead of teammate Webber, the two Red Bull's had dominated qualifying and were in a strong position for the race. At the start Vettel streaked away into the lead as Alonso muscled his way past Webber into the first corner. Vettel began pulling away at nearly a second a lap and looked to have the race in hand, however a safety car period was to change all of this. Vettel made a serious error in judgement as being the leader of the pack, his responsibility was to ensure that he remained within ten car lengths of the safety car. Vettel trailing along beyond this limit earned himself a drive through penalty for the infringement. Whilst serving his penalty, Vettel was seen angrily gesturing towards the stewards box seemingly unaware of the reason for his penalty. The penalty dropped him to third behind teammate Webber who had inherited the lead and the Ferrari of Alonso. Although managing to catch up to Alonso, Vettel remained stuck behind the Ferrari for the remainder of the race, unable to pass on the tight twisty circuit. Vettel finished the race third as Webber took a dominant win and in doing so took the lead in the championship. The strong result by the Red Bull cars in recent races had allowed them to overtake the McLaren cars in the constructor's championship.
Mixed conditions at the Belgian Grand Prix saw a change in the usual grid hierachy for the race, Vettel in the wet conditions could only manage an uncharacteristic fourth on the grid. Vettel lined up behind teammate Webber who took pole, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica. At the start Vettel was able to overtake Kubica but then lost third place to the McLaren of Jenson Button. Despite dropping behind the McLaren driver in the initial stint, Vettel was able to catch up and put significant pressure on Button. However, disaster would strike on lap 17, Vettel frustrated at being stuck behind the McLaren, began weaving aggressively going into the bus-stop chicane, Vettel lost control of his car and speared into the sidepod of Button whilst still continuing down the straight. Vettel was able to continue, albeit needing to pit for a new front wing, Button however suffered terminal damage in the incident. The stewards then awarded Vettel with a drive through penalty for causing an avoidable incident. Vettel's race was effectively ruined and he went on to finish a lowly fifteenth. This poor result meant he would lose significant ground to Hamilton and Webber in the championship, who went on to take first and second in the race.
The Italian Grand Prix would see another disappointing qualifying for Vettel, only managing sixth on the grid after an error on his flying lap. The start would be disappointing for both Red Bull's, Webber who started fourth dropped to ninth, whilst Vettel lost sixth to the Williams of Nico Hülkenberg. However he was promoted back to sixth at the end of the first lap after Lewis Hamilton's retirement. Vettel began to complain that he had engine troubles and and soon lost sixth to teammate Webber. He began to drop back and came under pressure from the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher, however Vettel was able to regain his performance and began to close back on Hülkenberg and Webber. As the two cars ahead of him pitted, Vettel left his tyre stop until the very last lap, the gamble paid off well for him and he exited ahead of the two remaining in fourth position to the end of the race.
At the Singapore Grand Prix, Vettel lost pole position to the resurgent Fernando Alonso, the Ferrari team significantly improving their performance by the second half of the season. On race day, the Ferrari proved too strong and Alonso immediately began to open a lead over Vettel. Vettel performed well to finish the race in second place but was unable to challenge the Ferrari driver. Vettel's success in the race meant he moved up to fourth in the championship, moving ahead of Button and closed to one point behind Hamilton.
The Red Bull's were quick in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, Vettel took pole position ahead of teammate Webber. At the start Vettel took a commanding lead, Webber lost second place to the Renault of Robert Kubica. However with Kubica's retirement later in the race, Webber regained second place. Vettel's lead suddenly was under threat as Webber began setting fastest laps and closing the gap to his younger teammate. Despite closing to within a second by the end of the race, Webber was unable to pass and Vettel took the victory. The result meant Vettel had climbed up to third in the championship and was now tied with Alonso on 206 points. Despite making a small gain, Vettel was still 14 points behind Webber in the championship who was consistently finishing in strong positions.Red Bull proved to be the pace setters once again at the inaugral Korean Grand Prix, Vettel taking pole ahead of teammate Webber. The race was held under severe wet conditions and began the first few laps under the safety car. In the wet conditions teammate Webber crashed out, eliminating his main championship contender. Vettel appeared to have the race in hand, but with only ten laps to go, disaster struck. Vettel suffered an engine failure whilst going down the back straight. Vettel was forced to retire and look on as Fernando Alonso took the victory, with Lewis Hamilton finishing second. The result meant Vettel dropped behind both Hamilton and Alonso in the championship, Alonso inheriting the lead in the driver's championship.
With two rounds to go, Vettel was 25 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso. At the Brazilian Grand Prix, Vettel and Webber qualified second and third, the Williams of Nico Hülkenberg taking a surprise pole position in the mixed conditions. At the start, Vettel and Webber easily disposed of Hülkenberg and disappeared into the lead. The two Red Bull drivers dominated the race, with Vettel coming home ahead of Webber. Fernando Alonso took third ahead of Hamilton and Button. Button's fifth place meant he was too far behind in the championship to have a statistical chance of reclaiming his driver's crown going into the last race. The result meant Red Bull took their first Constructor's Championship, rivals McLaren and Ferrari not being able to get enough points to challenge Red Bull going into the final race.
Abu Dhabi was the venue of the last grand prix of the season. Going into the race, Vettel, Webber, Hamilton and Alonso had a chance of taking the driver's title. Vettel was three points behind Webber in the championship and 15 behind championship leader Alonso. In qualifying, Vettel took pole ahead of Hamilton and Alonso. Webber had a poor qualifying session and could only manage fifth. At the start Vettel took the lead and began to pull away at a convincing rate ahead of Hamilton. Vettel's main rivals Webber and Alonso were having a torrid race, dropping to the back half of the top 10. Vettel went to take a convincing victory ahead of Hamilton. With Alonso only managing seventh, and Webber only managing eighth it had meant Vettel had taken the title by a mere four points over Alonso. Ironically the final race of the season in which Vettel took the title was the only time he had led the championship that season, Vettel had been the only driver competing for the championship to lead it at some stage of the season.
2011Following the conclusion of the 2010 season, Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel seemed in prime form to retain their titles going into the 2011 season. Both Vettel and Webber had performed strongly in the pre-season testing thoughout January and February of 2011. This performance was confirmed at the first race in Australia when Vettel lapped nearly a second faster than his rivals in qualifying, taking a convincing pole position ahead of the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton and teammate Mark Webber. Vettel went on to dominate the Australian Grand Prix finishing the race over 25 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place. The pace of the Red Bull's was disturbing to the rest of the field especially considering neither car had the KERS device fitted on their cars for either qualifying or the race.
During qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Vettel took pole position once again, however Lewis Hamilton had manage to close the gap between the pair going into Malaysia. The race however proved to be another repeat of what happened in Australia, Vettel took the lead and from then on never lost it. However towards the end of the race Vettel came under significant pressure from Jenson Button's McLaren who had closed the gap between them to within 3 seconds.
The Chinese Grand Prix saw Vettel take another strong pole position ahead of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Teammate Webber who had a mediocre start to the season qualified a lowly 18th. At the start, Vettel lost the lead to both the McLaren's, Vettel was able to quickly dispose of Button and began to chase down race leader Lewis Hamilton. Vettel took the lead when Hamilton peeled into the pits, being on a three stop strategy, Vettel on only a two stop strategy. Whilst Vettel's strategy had appeared to have payed off taking the lead for the majority of the race, he began to suffer from severe tyre degradation. Hamilton on fresher tyres, was able to quickly catch and pass him with only four laps to go. Teammate Webber managed to finish third despite starting 18th.
At the Turkish Grand Prix, Vettel took pole by half a second over teammate Webber. Vettel went on to dominate the race, pulling out a six second lead before his first pit stop on lap 10. He went on to finish the race in first place, Webber and Alonso took the final podium positions eight seconds adrift. Vettel by now had a well consolidated lead in the championship, 34 points ahead of Hamilton in second place.
Spain was the next venue on the calendar, Vettel was beaten to pole position by teammate Webber. Vettel took second on the grid, despite being hampered by a KERS failure which rendered the device offline throughout the final qualifying session. At the start of the race, Vettel overtook Webber, but both the Red Bull's were beaten to the first corner by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso who had a flyer of a start from fourth on the grid. However the Ferrari struggled on the harder compound tyre and Alonso lost the lead to Vettel after the first round of pit stops. Vettel held the lead for the rest of the race, however like in China he began suffering from tyre degradation and Lewis Hamilton was hunting him down. However unlike China, Vettel held the lead to the cheqeured flag.
The next venue in Monaco saw Vettel take another convincing pole position ahead of Jenson Button and teammate Webber. Vettel had another strong start, taking the lead into the first corner where he was able to successfully consolidate a large gap to Button in second. However after an accident involving Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa occured, the safety car was brought out ruining Vettel's lead. This put him in a potentially bad position as he had significantly more worn tyres than Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button behind him. As the safety car pulled in, a three way battle for the lead commenced. However Vettel was saved when a four car pile-up occured on lap 78, with the cars blocking the circuit the red flag was brought out. This therefore denied Alonso and Button in their attempts in victory. Vettel, therefore taking his fifth win of the season.
In qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel once again took pole, edging out the Ferrari's of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. The race began in heavy wet conditions behind the safety car, when racing commenced on lap 5 Vettel immediately began creating a gap to the Ferrari's in second and third. On lap 26 the race was suspended for 2 hours due to the intensity of the rain. On the restart, Vettel took the lead and appeared to be in hand for another victory, however the McLaren of Jenson Button was making a storming comeback through the field, lapping faster than any car on the circuit. Despite the fact that he was catching Vettel, it appeared as if Vettel would hold the lead to the end of the race. However going into turn 6 on the last lap he went extremely wide which allowed Button to take the lead of the race as well as the victory. Vettel came home in second place, whilst disappointed not to win he still maintained a 60 point lead over Button in the championship.
At the European Grand Prix, the Red Bull's locked out the front row with Vettel taking pole ahead of teammate Webber. At the start Vettel made his customary strong start and began to create a significant gap to Webber behind who was involved in a tense duel with Alonso for second. Vettel once again went on to take a convincing victory ahead of Alonso and Webber.Vettel was denied pole position by teammate Mark Webber who beat him to pole by four tenths of a second. At the start Vettel took the lead from Webber going into the first corner and began opening up a lead. As the race wore on, Alonso managed to get past Webber and began to challenge Vettel for the lead. The team decided to bring Vettel in for new tyres, Ferrari covering Red Bull's move brought Alonso in at the same time. Vettel had an extremely slow pitstop dropping to third, behind Alonso and Hamilton whilst only being slightly ahead of teammate Webber. Vettel engaged in a long duel with Hamilton for second, eventually both himself and Webber managed to get past when Hamilton went into fuel conservation mode. Vettel then came under significant pressure from teammate Webber, despite instructions from the team to Webber to not pass Vettel, Webber ignored these instructions and continued to attempt to pass. Despite Webber's defiance of team orders, he was unable to overtake before the end of the race. Vettel finished second ahead of Webber and behind the Ferrari of Alonso.
For Vettel's home race in Germany he was only able to qualify third, losing out to Webber and Hamilton. At the start Vettel dropped to fourth behind Alonso, however on lap 4 he was able to repass Alonso when he made a mistake. Only a few laps later however, Alonso had re-taken Vettel once again. On lap 10 Vettel made a mistake and spun whilst attempting to challenge Alonso and dropped to seventh. Vettel was able to overtake Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov to make it up to fifth but got stuck behind the Ferrari of Felipe Massa. Unable to pass on track, both Vettel and Massa went into the pits. Vettel's faster pit-stop meant he was able to overtake Massa and take fourth position by the end of the race.
At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel claimed pole ahead of the McLaren's of Hamilton and Button. Vettel took the lead going into the first corner, however would come under significant pressure from Lewis Hamilton. On lap 5 Vettel made a mistake allowing Hamilton to take the lead. Vettel then came under significant pressure from Button and after the first round of pit-stops lost second to the other McLaren driver. The McLaren's clearly superior in this race began to pull away from Vettel in third place. However after a drive through penalty for Hamilton, Vettel was able to reclaim second place although he did not have the pace to catch Button before the end of the race.
Vettel took pole position ahead of Hamilton and Webber for the Belgian Grand Prix. Vettel would immediately open up a convincing lead and despite a safety car period and a brief challenge from Fernando Alonso, Vettel would take victory ahead of Mark Webber and despite Red Bull's dominace, the team's first 1-2 finish of the season.
Vettel took his tenth pole position of the season, equalling only Ayrton Senna in taking more than ten pole positions in more than a single season. Vettel lost the lead to Alonso going into the first corner, however quickly reclaimed it in a daring move going around the outside and onto the grass at turn 4 on lap 7. From this moment on Vettel remained unchallenged and opened up a convincing lead, finishing the race nine seconds adrift from second place Jenson Button.
Yet again Vettel took pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix, the Red Bull's locking out the front row with Webber starting in second place. Vettel made his customary strong start, inheriting the lead which he would hold for the remainder of the race. Vettel now exerted such a dominating lead in the championship meaning only Jenson Button could potentially defeat Vettel in the championship. Vettel 224 points ahead of Button could potentially win the championship in the next round in Japan, with 5 rounds still to go in the championship.It seemed likely that Vettel would seal the Driver's Championship in Japan, needing only a points finish or Jenson Button to not win the race to secure the championship. Vettel secured pole position with his championship rival Jenson Button lining up alongside him on the grid. At the start Button attempted to pass but Vettel forced him wide, Button queried whether Vettel should be penalised for the manoeveure over the McLaren team radio. The McLaren however proved to be quicker in the race and Button was able to overtake Vettel later on in the race. Vettel also lost second place to the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso after a slow out-lap from a pit-stop which saw him caught up amongst the backmarkers. Vettel managed to catch up to Alonso but was unable to overtake, in his frustration he angrily gestured at a Virgin backmarker that was slow to get out of his way. The team over the radio demanded that Vettel take it easy, noting he only needed a points finish to win the championship. After this Vettel settled for third and finished the race behind Button and Alonso, albeit now as a double world champion. Now all that remained was to secure the Constructor's Championship for Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton ended the 16 consecutive race run in which a Red Bull had been on pole position in Korea. Vettel lined up second with teammate Webber fourth, Red Bull knowing they could secure the Constructor's Championship in Korea. Vettel managed to overtake Hamilton for the lead at turn 4 of the first lap, following this Vettel never lost the lead and finished the race in first place, with Hamilton second and teammate Webber third. This result was enough for Red Bull to secure themselves as the 2011 Constructor's Champions.
The next race was held at the inaugral Indian Grand Prix. Vettel took another convincing pole position where he would go on to dominate the race, finishing eight seconds ahead of Button in second.
For the penultimate round of the championship, Vettel took what was seemingly to be an almost routine pole position for the grand prix. However what was unexpected to all was whilst the cars entered turn 2 of the opening lap, Vettel suffered a left rear tyre blow-out sending him spinning out of the lead and out of the race. Abu Dhabi marked Vettel's one and only retirement of the season.
For the final race of the season in Brazil, Vettel took another pole position with teammate Webber lining up beside him. The two Red Bull's began to open up a significant lead over the rest of the field. Vettel however began to suffer gearbox issues and was told to let Webber through into the lead. Vettel conceded the lead to his teammate and allowed Webber to take his first and only victory of the season whilst Vettel finished the race in second place.
Vettel had scored more points in 2011 than any other driver in the sport's history during a single season. His total of 392 points was 122 more than what runner-up Jenson Button was able to score in the championship. Vettel and Red Bull were able to completely dominate the field throughout the season. Other records Vettel managed to secure was the most pole positions in a season, most front row starts in a season and the most laps led in a season.
Following the conclusion of pre-season testing it was estimated that McLaren had produced a car capable of matching the Red Bull's of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in the new season. As the team's arrived in Australia for round 1 of the championship it was evident that Red Bull had not maintained their 2011 dominance going into the new season. Vettel could only manage to qualify sixth with Webber one place ahead of him starting fifth on the grid. The McLaren's setting the standard by locking out the front row of the grid. At the start Vettel got past teammate Webber to take fifth and settled in behind the two Mercedes cars of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Vettel was able to overtake Rosberg on track and shortly later Schumacher retired, promoting Vettel up to third behind the McLaren's of Hamilton and Button. Vettel was able to overtake Hamilton on track to take second and began challenging Button for the lead. However he could not get past the McLaren driver before the conclusion of the race and had to settle for second position ahead of Hamilton and Webber.It was another disappointing qualifying for Vettel in Malaysia, only managing to qualify sixth on the grid. Although he was promoted to fifth due to a grid penalty for Kimi Räikkönen due to a gearbox change. At the start Vettel managed to get by teammate Webber who had qualified one place above him in fourth. The race held in mixed conditions proved to be difficult for Vettel as his Red Bull failed to have the pace to compete with the top 3 as well as being without radio contact for most of the race. Towards the end of the race Vettel was involved in an incident when lapping the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan, whilst overtaking his rear wheel clipped Karthikeyan's front wing. This caused him to have a puncture and after entering the pits he rejoined eleventh and outside of the points, a position he would remain in for the remainder of the race. Vettel was surrounded by controversy when he labelled Karthikeyan as an "idiot" and a "cucumber" for his role in the accident.
Vettel's situation did not improve much upon arriving in China. He was highly uncompetitive in qualifying, failing to even make it into the final qualifying session and only managing to qualify eleventh. This marked the first time since the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix in which Vettel failed to make it into Q3. Vettel was able to stage some what of a comeback in the race, managing to climb up to fifth by the conclusion of the race, salvaging some points. Vettel sat in fifth place in the championship 23 points adrift off championship leader Hamilton and a single place behind teammate Webber in the championship.It was an apparent return to form for Vettel at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Vettel managed to take his pole position of the season ahead of championship leader Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber. At the start Vettel immediately took the lead and began to create a gap. Whilst remaining unchallenged for most of the race, Vettel came under threat from the two Lotus cars of Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean towards the end of the race. Räikkönen chased Vettel and made some aggressive attempts to overtake the reigning champion. Despite the fact that Vettel was rapidly losing pace to the Lotus cars, he was able to hold the lead to the end and take his first victory of the season. The win moved him into the lead of the championship, three points ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
At the Spanish Grand Prix, Vettel once again struggled for pace, the new Red Bull chassis struggling to get to grips with the new Pirelli tyres. Vettel could only manage to qualify in seventh with teammate Webber starting eleventh. Both Vettel and Webber made extremely early pit stops, pitting in on lap 9 hoping to get the undercut of their faster rivals. Sebastian Vettel received a drive through penalty, when both himself and Felipe Massa whom he was racing with at the time failed to slow for yellow flags. After a lack of performance, Vettel unusually had his front wing changed in his last pit stop on lap 44. Despite the mishaps, Vettel performed well to finish in sixth position. However his lowly points finish meant that Alonso who had finished second in the race had drawn level with Vettel in the championship.
It was another dismal qualifying performance in Monaco for Vettel. He managed to only barely scrape through into the final qualifying session. Due to his uncompetitiveness he opted to sit out the session and start tenth in the race to preserve tyres. At the start Vettel was one of the few drivers to start on the harder compound tyre. Despite being involved in contact with Romain Grosjean's out of control Lotus, Vettel had a relatively clean lap. Vettel would inherit the lead as his rivals on the softer compound tyre would be forced to stop for new tyres. Vettel then consolidated a strong lead from teammate Webber who was in second. On lap 45, Vettel finally made his pitstop rejoining the race in fourth position just ahead of Lewis Hamilton and behind Webber, Rosberg and Alonso. Vettel would go on to finish the race in fourth position. As Alonso had beaten him in the race he had become the new championship leader, Webber who had won the race was now equal second in the championship with Vettel.
Vettel managed to find his qualifying form once again in Canada and took pole position for the race, ahead of Hamilton, Alonso and Webber. Vettel retained his lead in the first few laps, however would soon come under significant pressure from Hamilton and Alonso, who were both quicker than him during the early period of the race. Vettel opted to pit early due to his lack of pace. However Hamilton and Alonso still appeared to be quicker and both were ahead of him following the first round of pit-stops. Towards the end of the race both Vettel and Alonso began suffering from severe tyre degradation, their pace dropping significantly. Vettel opted to pit whilst Alonso instead decided to stay out. Vettel rejoined fifth, losing two places to Romain Grosjean and Sergio Pérez. However Alonso's tyre degradation was so severe, that he dropped behind both Grosjean and Pérez as well as Vettel himself. Vettel finishing the race in fourth position with Hamilton who had won the race becoming the new championship leader. Vettel had now dropped to fourth in the championship behind teammate Webber, Hamilton and new championship leader Alonso. Vettel was able to continue his resurgent qualifying performance at the European Grand Prix taking a convincing pole position. Vettel took the lead at the start and began to build a convincing lead to Hamilton in second, Vettel appeared to have the race in hand yet was denied the win when on lap 33 his alternator failed, forcing him to retire from the race.
In Britain, Vettel could only manage to qualify in fourth position behind Alonso, Webber and Michael Schumacher. Vettel made a poor start dropping behind Massa and Räikkönen. Vettel however was able to quickly retain fourth position by passing the pair early on in the race. Vettel soon disposed of the struggling Schumacher for third position. He soon inherited second position behind race leader Alonso after teammate Webber came in to pit for tyres. Webber with his fresher rubber, proved to be much quicker than both Alonso and Vettel. Webber therefore was easily able to overtake the pair to take the lead of the race. This order remained until the conclusion of the race with Vettel taking his first podium since his win in Bahrain.
In Germany, Vettel failed to attain pole position, starting the race from second behind championship leader Alonso. Vettel held second position in the initial stages before losing the position to Jenson Button in the middle stage of the race. Whilst Button initially was able to pull away from Vettel, Vettel soon found pace as Button's tyres began to wear and began to chase him down. Vettel's hunt was interrupted however when Lewis Hamilton who was a lap down on the leaders due to a puncture early in the race, began to lap faster the leaders shortly after being lapped by Vettel. Hamilton opted to take the initiative overtaking and unlapping himself from Vettel. Vettel began to angrily gesture at Hamilton, frustrated that this backmarker was inhibiting his chase down upon Button. Eventually Vettel was able to get past the backmarker of Hamilton and resume his chase on Button. Towards the end of the race Vettel managed to catch Button, proceeding to commit to what was later deemed an illegal overtake, going around the outside using the run-off area to get his advantage over Button to overtake at the exit of turn 4. Whilst finishing the race in second, Vettel was given a 20 second time penalty after the race due to his illegal overtake on Button. This meant that he dropped to fifth in the standings of the race.
Vettel had an unimpressive grand prix in Hungary. He managed to only qualify in third behind Hamilton and Grosjean. Vettel lost third place at the first corner to Jenson Button, Vettel was able to reclaim third later in the race when Button's tyre performance dropped. However he soon lost third position to Kimi Räikkönen who had much superior pace to Vettel. Vettel would remain in fourth place for the remainder of the race.
Vettel proved to be uncompetitive in qualifying for Belgian and could only manage a disappointing eleventh on the grid. Vettel got a poor start but survived the multi-car pile-up at the first corner that eliminated his main championship rival Fernando Alonso from the race. Vettel was stuck in eleventh behind teammate Webber by the end of the safety car period. Vettel had great race pace however and managed to stage a strong comeback through the field. By lap 19 Vettel had climbed to third, he then got stuck behind the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher, the two duelled for several laps before Vettel finally was able to overtake Schumacher. Vettel remained in second for the remainder of the race, finishing behind Button who took the race win. Vettel was now 24 points behind championship leader Alonso who had failed to take any points in Belgium.
Vettel only managed to qualify in sixth position for the Italian Grand Prix. At the start Vettel managed to overtake Paul di Resta for fifth place and began to pressure Michael Schumacher for fourth place. On lap 4 Vettel was able to overtake Schumacher for the position. Vettel would remain stuck in fourth place, but had come under significant pressure from Fernando Alonso for the position. On lap 26, Alonso attempted to pass Vettel around the outside of turn 6 but was forced off the circuit by Vettel when attempting to overtake. Alonso was able to recover and would overtake Vettel later that lap. Vettel would be penalised on lap 32 with a drive through penalty for forcing Alonso off the circuit, meaning he would drop to seventh after the penalty had been applied. On lap 47, Vettel would suffer an alternator failure which saw him retire from the race. The result hindered Vettel's title efforts, dropping down to fourth in the championship behind race winner Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen.
In Singapore Vettel would qualify third behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado. At the start Vettel was easily able to dispose of Maldonado's Williams, however Hamilton began to open up a significant lead at the start of the race. Whilst Vettel held a strong second in the race, he was unable to challenge Hamilton's McLaren for the lead. However on lap 22 Hamilton suffered a gearbox failure which saw Vettel inherit the lead which he would continue to hold for the remainder of the race. Jenson Button finished second and championship leader Alonso was third. Vettel was now back up to second in the championship standings, but still 29 points behind leader Alonso. This was the beginning of a major comeback in the championship for Vettel.
In Japan, the Red Bull's dominated qualifying with Vettel on pole and Webber alongside him on the front row. Championship leader Alonso retired on the first lap whilst Vettel would take a dominant win, 20 seconds ahead of Felipe Massa in second. Vettel was now only four points behind Alonso in the championship standings.
In Korea, it was another Red Bull front row lockout, however it was Webber who beat Vettel to the pole position. At the start Vettel was however able to muscle his way past his teammate to take the lead of the race. The two Red Bull's dominated the race, with Vettel taking his third consecutive win ahead of Webber and Alonso. Vettel took the lead in the championship and was now 6 points ahead of Alonso.
The Red Bull's dominated the qualifying session in India with Vettel taking pole ahead of Webber. Vettel would go on to completely dominate the race, championship rival Alonso was able to muscle his way up to second but remained nine seconds adrift of Vettel by the finish. Vettel increased his championship lead to thirteen points.
In Abu Dhabi, Vettel would have qualified in third, yet due to the fact that his car did not have enough fuel to return to the pits, he was excluded from the qualifying results. Due to this Red Bull opted to start Vettel from the pit lane. Vettel staged a strong fight through the mid-field despite making contact with Bruno Senna's Williams, resulting in damage to his front wing. Vettel, helped by a number of retirements in the race was able to climb the order rather quickly. However during a safety car period, Vettel was stuck behind the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo in eleventh. Ricciardo, weaving to get warmth into his tyres, performed an unexpected manoeuvere that forced Vettel to take evasive action, running wide off the circuit hitting a bilboard. This caused further damage to his front wing and Red Bull opted to bring him into the pits to replace the wing and provide a new set of option tyres. Vettel with the fresher tyres was supremely quick and began to climb up the field at a rapid pace once the safety car period concluded. Vettel managed to climb to fourth position behind Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. With four laps to go Vettel overtook Button for third place, which he held to the finish. It was a strong comeback drive for Vettel who had started from the pit lane, however Alonso who had finished second had reduced Vettel's championship lead to ten points with his second place finish.
In qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, Vettel took pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Championship rival Alonso laboured in a disappointing ninth place. At the start, Vettel took the lead as teammate Webber overtook Hamilton for second. The Red Bull's maintained a strong 1-2 standing until Webber retired from the race with alternator issues. This allowed Hamilton to begin closing the gap on Vettel's lead. The pair battle for the lead, however on lap 42, Vettel was forced to concede the lead to Hamilton as he was overtaken by the McLaren driver. Whilst Vettel remained on Hamilton's tail for the remainder of the race, it was Hamilton that would take the race win. Championship rival Alonso finished in third, yet Vettel was now able to increase his championship lead to thirteen points with one race to go.
The final race of the season at Brazil saw Vettel qualify in fourth position, four places above championship rival Alonso. The race was held in wet conditions, Vettel made a poor start dropping to seventh, whilst Alonso climbed to fifth. Worst still, Vettel was hit by Bruno Senna going into turn four, causing him to spin and dropping him to the back of the field. The wet conditions saw a number of accidents which helped Vettel's climb up the field. On lap 23, during a safety car period Vettel was running in fifth place behind Alonso in fourth. Following the restart Vettel made a poor getaway and lost two places to Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa. Vettel needed at least a sixth place finish to win the title. His title plight was helped when his older compatriot Michael Schumacher, in his last Formula One race let Vettel through with relative ease, Schumacher stating earlier in the week that he supported Vettel's title defence. Whilst Alonso went on to finish second in the race, it was not enough for him to win the title and Vettel who finished sixth in the race, secured his third title by three points from Alonso.
Going into the new season, Red Bull looked competitive once again, both Vettel and Webber performing well in pre-season testing. The pace of the team was evident upon arriving in Australia for round 1 of the championship. Vettel took pole position ahead of teammate Webber. At the start Vettel maintained his lead ahead of the two Ferrari cars of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. Vettel led the race with the two Ferrari's sharply on his tail for the remainder of the first stint of the race. Following the first round of pit stops, Vettel found he had lost the lead to the Force India of Adrian Sutil. Sutil unlike most of the field had started the race on the medium compound tyre, instead of the softs which enabled him to last longer at the front. Vettel found he was unable to overtake his fellow German, rival Alonso opted to come in early for his second pit stops in order to undercut the two cars ahead of him. Vettel and Sutil pitted a lap later and whilst Vettel jumped Sutil in the pit stop, he had lost the lead to Alonso who had made the undercut work by pitting a lap earlier. The pair however had both lost out to Kimi Räikkönen's Lotus who had taken the lead of the race, by the conclusion of the grand prix, Räikkönen took the victory ahead of Alonso and Vettel.
Malaysia was the next venue on the calendar. Vettel took a convincing pole position by a full second ahead of the two Ferrari cars of Massa and Alonso. At the start Alonso damaged his front wing when he hit the back of Vettel whilst trying to overtake at the start. On the second lap Alonso's wing collapsed causing him to slide into the gravel trap and into retirement. This meant that Webber took second position after making a strong start from fifth on the grid. After Vettel's first pit stop he lost the lead to the faster Webber during the pit interval. Webber who now had a convincing lead over Vettel was told over the radio that Vettel would not challenge him for the lead and the two cars would maintain position to the finish. Despite this team order Vettel closed up to Webber and overtook him for the lead. Vettel would go on to win the race with Webber second. Webber felt that he had been cheated by Vettel's disobediance and angrily enquired about the "multi 21" strategy the team was on after the race. The multi 21 incident is what believed to be the catalyst for Webber's decision to retire from Formula One at the end of the season. Red Bull management admitted Vettel had disobeyed team orders, yet he saw no disciplinary action from the team following the incident.
Vettel struggled in qualifying for the next race in China. He could only manage a disappointing ninth on the grid. Vettel started the race on the harder tyres which allowed him to continue much longer than all his rivals in front of him who were on the soft tyre. This meant Vettel inherited the lead when the other front runners were forced to pit. Vettel was then able to open up a significant lead with his rivals far behind him having pitted. However it wasn't long before his own tyres began to degrade, meaning that he lost significant time to Alonso in second position. On lap 28 Alonso took the lead of the race from Vettel. Vettel then opted to pit for new tyres dropping to fourth position behind Kimi Räikkönen and Lewis Hamilton, he would remain in that position for the remainder of the race. In Bahrain, Vettel started from second place being denied pole position by the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. At the start Rosberg maintained his lead into the first corner, but on the second lap Vettel took the lead of the race. Vettel remained relatively unchallenged throughout the entire race, taking the win ahead of the two Lotus cars of Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean.
At the Spanish Grand Prix, Vettel qualified in third position behind the two Mercedes cars of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. At the start Vettel climbed to second with Rosberg leading and Alonso in third place. Although Vettel managed to get past Rosberg in the first round of pit stops, Alonso leapfrogged them both to take the lead. However Vettel's four stop strategy gamble did not pay off and by the end of the race he had dropped behind Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa. Vettel went on to finish the race in fourth position. With this result Kimi Räikkönen reduced Vettel's lead in the championship to three points.
In Monaco Vettel once again qualified in third, being beaten by the two Mercedes cars of Rosberg and Hamilton once again. At the start Vettel retained his third position and followed the two Mercedes cars. During the first set of pit-stops, an error in judgement from Mercedes meant both their cars had to pit at the same time. This meant Hamilton lost a lot of time and therefore dropped to fourth behind Vettel and Webber. Vettel would go on to finish the race in second ahead of Webber and behind Rosberg.
In Canada, Vettel narrowly beat the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton to the pole position. In the race Vettel dominated, opening up a significant gap to the cars behind and not once losing the lead. He finished the race fourteen seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso in second. Vettel was now 36 points clear of second placed Alonso in the championship.
At the British Grand Prix, the Mercedes cars once again proved to be superior in qualifying as Hamilton and Rosberg lined up ahead of Vettel in third place. At the start, Vettel was able to climb to second splitting the two Mercedes cars. Hamilton, however was opening up a convincing lead until he suffered a tyre blowout. This meant Vettel inherited the lead but a gearbox failure meant that Vettel was forced to retire from the race whilst leading.
In Germany, Hamilton beat Vettel to the pole position once again. Vettel lining up alongside him. At the start Vettel muscled his way past Hamilton to take the lead of the race. Vettel would hold the lead for the remainder of the race, but towards the end of the race Kimi Räikkönen's Lotus had begun to put significant pressure on Vettel and had closed the gap to within one second. Vettel managed to hold on to the lead and take the race win. Despite Vettel's success in his career, this marked only the first time he had managed to win at his home grand prix.
Hungary was the next venue, and once again the Mercedes of Hamilton proved to be superior in qualifying taking the pole position ahead of Vettel. Unlike in Germany, Hamilton held the lead at the start of the race and began to pull away. The front runners suffered from severe tyre degradation and were forced to pit. Hamilton and Vettel exited the pits behind the McLaren of Jenson Button. Whilst Hamilton was able to get by the McLaren relatively quickly, Vettel was stuck behind the McLaren for many laps before he was finally able to overtake. The time lost behind Button meant that Kimi Räikkönen was able to get past Vettel in the next round of pit stops. Vettel would finish the race third behind Hamilton and Räikkönen.
In Belgium, Hamilton once again claimed pole with Vettel and Webber right behind him. At the start, Hamilton led away but going down the Kemmel Straight, Vettel was able to overtake and took the lead from the Mercedes driver. From there, Vettel took a dominant win 16 seconds ahead of Alonso in second.
Vettel was finally able to claim pole position at the Italian Grand Prix. Vettel would put in another dominant performance, winning by five seconds ahead of Alonso in second place.
Singapore proved to be another success for Vettel, he took pole position in qualifying ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. At the start, Rosberg had a better run down into the first corner, managing to get past Vettel but then ran wide allowing Vettel back into the lead. This proved to be Vettel's only challenge in the race as he went on to dominate the race, winning by a 32 second margin ahead of Alonso in second. In Korea Vettel took pole ahead of Hamilton, the race saw Vettel take another dominant win ahead of Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean.
In Japan, Vettel was beaten to pole position by teammate Webber, Vettel lining up alongside him in second on the grid. At the start Vettel was unable to overtake Webber and instead the fast starting Lotus of Romain Grosjean snatched the lead for the Red Bull's. Lewis Hamilton ran into the back of Vettel whilst going into the first corner, puncturing his tyre and effectively ruining his race. Vettel however was able to take the lead from Grosjean during the first round of pit stops, he would hold the lead for the remainder of the race. It would be a Red Bull 1-2 with Webber finishing in second position.
In India, Vettel would have the opportunity to take the title if his only potential challenger, Fernando Alonso finished outside the points. Vettel took a comfortable pole position and went into the lead at the start of the race. Despite issues with his KERS and drinks bottle towards the end of the race, Vettel went on to dominate the race and took his fourth world title due to the fact Alonso finished in eleventh place. Red Bull also took their fourth consecutive constructor's championship in this race. Vettel notably performed doughnuts on the track during the cool-down lap, despite this move being slightly controversial, the stewards took no action against Vettel.
Webber beat Vettel to pole position during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Vettel lining up alongside Webber in second position. At the start, Vettel took the lead from Webber going into the first corner, a position he would hold until the end of the race. Teammate Webber finished in second position, the pair notably performing doughnuts for the crowd following the conclusion of the race.
For the United States Grand Prix, Vettel took another pole position as well as another dominant lights to flag victory. His eighth consecutive win, broke Michael Schumacher's record for most consecutive wins in a season.
The final race of the season in Brazil saw Vettel take pole position once again, followed by yet another win. Teammate Webber finished the race in second position for what would be his final Formula One race due to his retirement from the sport at then of the 2013 season. Vettel dominated the 2013 season, taking 397 points, more than any other driver in the history of the sport during a single F1 season.
Whilst 2013 proved to be a record year for Vettel and Red Bull, the Austrian team would notably start on the backfoot for the 2014 season. With Mark Webber retiring at the end of 2013, his position in the team was replaced by another Australian driver, the young Daniel Ricciardo who like Vettel had arrived in the team, after impressing in the secondary Red Bull team, Toro Rosso. Pre-season testing was difficult for the Red Bull outfit, the new chassis proved highly unreliable in the opening test in Jerez. Whilst the team's reliability improved by the Bahrain tests, Vettel and Red Bull had not conducted much testing in comparison to many of their rivals.
It was evident that Vettel was struggling upon arriving for the first race in Australia. Vettel suffered performance issues throughout qualifying and could only manage a dismal thirteenth on the grid. Teammate Ricciardo faired much better, starting the grid from second position at his home race and first for Red Bull. Vettel's race would end prematurely after only three laps due to an engine failure. Ricciardo would go on to finish the race in second position, yet was disqualified due to a fuel irregularity, meaning Red Bull failed to score any points in the opening race of the season.
There was an improvement for Vettel going into the second round in Malaysia. Vettel narrowly missed out on pole position by a few tenths of a second to the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. Vettel, however made a poor getaway at the start, dropping to fourth behind the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and teammate Daniel Ricciardo. After a tight battle with Ricciardo, Vettel was able to muscle his way ahead of his younger teammate back into third position. Vettel would remain in third for the remainder of the race, powerless to challenge the superior Mercedes chassis, finishing behind Hamilton and Rosberg in the race.
Vettel suffered another disappointing qualifying in Bahrain, managing only a eleventh position. Teammate Ricciardo faired better to go third fastest, however due to a grid penalty, he dropped to thirteenth on the grid. At the start Vettel was able to make up places on the grid in the opening laps, however his charge was halted when he became stuck behind the Force India of Nico Hülkenberg in fourth position. This allowed teammate Ricciardo to close upon Vettel, the team then ordering Vettel to let Ricciardo through due his faster track times. Ricciardo then managed to dispose of Hülkenberg for fourth place. Vettel would finish the race in sixth place.
The Red Bull's proved to be much more competitive in China during the qualifying session, Vettel started the race from third on the grid, narrowly being beaten by Ricciardo who took second position. At the start, Vettel made a strong getaway climbing to second position behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. Despite strong initial pace, Vettel proved to be less competitive than the cars behind him, losing places to Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso. Vettel once again found himself in an intense duel with teammate Ricciardo. Despite being instructed for the second race in succession by Red Bull management to let Ricciardo through, Vettel responded over the team radio with "tough luck" and refused to make way for Ricciardo. On lap 25, Ricciardo proceeded to overtake Vettel anyway for fourth position. Vettel would finish the race directly behind Ricciardo in fifth.
With the announcement ahead of the 2014 season that driver's would carry permanent number's on their cars throughout their career, Vettel selected the number five as his personal number of choice. However as Vettel was the reigning world champion, he carried the number one on his car, the number reserved for the reigning world champion in 2014. Vettel had raced with the number one since 2011, following his first title victory in 2010.
Vettel will race with his number five identification from 2015 as he is no longer World Champion. Vettel selected the number five as his personal number due to the fact that it was the number he had raced with much success back in his karting days in 2001 as well as it being the number he raced with during the 2010 season, the year he won his first championship. Vettel noted that the number five had also carried other driver's to world titles, notably Nigel Mansell in 1992 and Michael Schumacher in 1994.
Sebastian Vettel is known for his uniqueness in his helmet design for Formula One. Vettel has been experimenting with helmet designs since his early karting days at the age of eight. Vettel as a child wished to race with a picture of the crab from The Little Mermaid enscribed on his helmet design, the crab was incidently known as Sebastian as well. Since the 2008 season Vettel has raced with the Bergstraße coat of arms on his helmet, this is in honour of the region of Heppenheim where he was born. Vettel's traditional helmet design has been influenced by the Red Bull logo and insignia due to his career being entirely influenced and sponsored by the drinks company. The basic design of Vettel's helmet is a cheqeured blue and white helmet, with the Red Bull logo enscribed to the mid-level either side of Vettel's helmet. Vettel is known for consistently changing his helmet design, however whilst he has sported many different variations of helmet designs, a majority have been based on his traditional helmet design. Vettel retires a helmet design after each race win, beginning a new design following his win. Whilst Vettel retires his helmet designs following a race win he has been known to regularly retire helmets before he has managed to acheive a race win with them.
- Main article: Mark Webber
In 2009, Vettel arrived in Red Bull as Webber's new teammate. It was predicted by most that the two would share a difficult relationship following their infamous incident in 2007. However, 2009 resulted in relatively stable relationship between the two. They both shared a competitive yet healthy relationship as the two Red Bull drivers fought the two Brawn cars of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello for the title. Webber had proven in the past to be an extremely strong qualifier, and had previously managed to consistently outmatch his teammates in qualifying. Vettel proved to be difficult, and often matched and beat his more experienced teammate in qualifying. Webber, however, would only manage fourth in the championship in comparison to Vettel, who took second. Webber took two wins to Vettel's four.
In 2010, Red Bull were clearly the strongest team on the grid. However, the rivalry between the two drivers hampered the team's dominance that season. During the early part of the season, Webber proved to be the fastest of the pair, taking back-to-back wins in Spain and Monaco. Heading into the infamous Turkish Grand Prix, Webber was leading the championship with Vettel in second place. The two Red Bull cars were dominating the race until lap 39, when the infamous collision occurred. Webber, who was in fuel conservation mode, was being caught by Vettel in second place. Vettel attempted to overtake down the inside going into turn 12, and then cut back into Webber. The two collided, and Vettel was eliminated from the race. Vettel immediately blamed Webber for the incident, angrily gesturing a loopy finger after exiting his car. Team principal Christian Horner placed blame at both drivers, yet Helmut Marko, the team's advisor, immediately blamed Webber for the incident. Despite most of the media siding with Webber in the incident, Red Bull slowly came to the opinion that Webber was responsible for the collision. This marked the beginning of Vettel's control over the Red Bull team.
The rivalry further escalated at the British Grand Prix that year. Red Bull had arrived at the race with an updated aerodynamic package which included a new front wing for their two drivers. Vettel's wing was damaged in free practice three, which meant for qualifying, the team gave Vettel Webber's front wing, with Webber being forced to use the old design for qualifying and the race. Christian Horner justified the decision by saying it was based purely on championship position, with Vettel being ahead of Webber. At the time, however, Webber was furious with the team. In the post-qualifying press conference, when asked to comment on the change of the front wing, Webber angrily replied "I think the team is happy with the decision today" before slamming his glass of water hard down on the table. Webber determined to prove that he was not going to play second fiddle to Vettel, immediately took the lead of the race and went on to take a dominant win. Following his victory, Webber stated over the team radio "not bad for a number two driver", clearly aware of how the team was favouring Vettel's championship plight. Whilst Webber came close to taking the championship, a late season surge in results for Vettel was enough for him to take the championship in the final race.
In 2011, Webber appeared significantly weaker than Vettel in comparison to the previous two seasons. Webber's reliability in 2011 was notably significantly worse than Vettel's. Webber often saw reliability issues that generally effected his qualifying performance, and his race performances were often hampered due to circumstances outside of his control. Webber's greatest challenge of Vettel came once again at the British Grand Prix. Despite taking pole, due to a poor start and poor pit stops, he dropped down the field. However, by the end of the race, he was the fastest car on the circuit, baring down on teammate Vettel for second. As the race neared its conclusion, Webber was all over the rear of Vettel. However, Christian Horner ordered Webber over the radio to "maintain the gap". Webber refused to comply, and continued to attempt to overtake. His attempts proved to be unsuccessful nonetheless, and Webber finished third behind Vettel.
In 2012, with the Red Bull team appearing less competitive, Webber began racing on more equal grounds with Vettel. In the early season, Webber held the advantage over his younger teammate. A change of chassis for the Spanish Grand Prix for Vettel saw the young German find his form. Webber's poor reliability denied him the chance to truly fight for the championship as his teammate did. The Vettel-Webber rivalry came to a head in the final race of the season in Brazil. Vettel was in a direct battle for the title with rival Fernando Alonso, and Webber was expected by Red Bull to assist Vettel in his title efforts. However, Webber's edgy relationship with Vettel and Red Bull, as well as his close relationship with Vettel's title challenger Fernando Alonso, prompted to many that Webber would assist the Ferrari driver as opposed to his teammate. At the start of the race, Webber edged Vettel into the wall. Later on, he was seen to have let Fernando Alonso pass with very little effort. When Vettel attempted to pass, Webber offered significant resistance until Vettel finally managed to get the better of the Australia. When queried later about this behaviour in the race by BBC Chief Writer Andrew Benson, Webber merely stated: "Yeah, well. They didn't exactly lay it down on a plate for me in 2010, did they?"
However, the most significant confrontation between the two teammates was arguably their last major public confrontation. The 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix saw Webber leading the race with Vettel some way down the road in second position. Webber was told over the team radio to conserve fuel and that he had nothing to fear from Vettel behind, who would not attempt to overtake him. Vettel, however, closed the gap and, despite orders from the team that he was to maintain position, attacked and overtook Webber for the lead of the race. Vettel went on to win with Webber finishing second. Webber angrily inquired to Vettel following the race: "Multi-21, Seb? Multi-21?" Multi-21 was a reference to the team's race strategy. Whilst Vettel recognised the ramifications of his actions, and stated his wish to "turn back the clock", Webber continued to feel cheated by Vettel. Following the Malaysian Grand Prix, Webber never seemed as competitive, and is believed to be the catalyst for his retirement at the end of the season.
2013 marked the end of one of the most significant intra-team rivalries within Formula One. Unlike many drivers who have been relegated to a number two driver position in the team, Webber remained significantly defiant towards the team and Vettel, refusing to allow himself to be treated as anything but equal to Vettel in the team. Webber was a significant rival in both qualifying and race performance to Vettel when he was on form, often being the stronger of the two. However, both to car reliability and his own inconsistency, Webber was not able to consistently make a strong rival to his multi-world champion teammate. However, Vettel, despite the personal feud, believed that they shared a strong professional relationship, and stated that he would "miss the rivalry" following Webber's retirement in 2013.
Sebastian is currently in a relationship with childhood sweetheart Hanna Prater, Hanna gave birth to their baby daughter Emilie Vettel in January 2014.
Formula One Statistical Overview
F1 Career Record
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|2005||BMW WilliamsF1 Team||Williams-BMW||Young Driver Test|
|2006||BMW Sauber F1 Team||BMW Sauber||Third & Reserve Driver|
|2007||BMW Sauber F1 Team||BMW Sauber||Third & Reserve Driver||Report|
|Scuderia Toro Rosso||Toro Rosso-Ferrari|
|2008||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||35||8th||Report|
|2009||Red Bull Racing||Red Bull-Renault||84||2nd||Report|
|2010||Red Bull Racing||Red Bull-Renault||256||1st||Report|
|2011||Red Bull Racing||Red Bull-Renault||392||1st||Report|
|2012||Red Bull Racing||Red Bull-Renault||281||1st||Report|
|2013||Infiniti Red Bull Racing||Red Bull-Renault||397||1st||Report|
|2014||Infiniti Red Bull Racing||Red Bull-Renault||167||5th||Report|
|2015||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||Yet to start|
|Front Row Starts||64|
|Distance Raced||32925.59 km (20459 mi)|
|Distance Led||12881.159 km (8004 mi)|
* As of the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix
|Complete Formula One results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)||DNS||Did not start|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||[+] More Symbols|
- ↑ "Nutcases, kids, Multi 21: The very best quotes and quips from Mark Webber's career". Fox Sports. 22 November 2013. http://www.foxsports.com.au/motor-sport/formula-one/nutcases-kids-multi-21-the-very-best-quotes-and-quips-from-mark-webbers-career/story-e6frf3zl-1226766078063?nk=ec2587152b2ae0f1cba45b98c8006130. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- ↑ "Chinese Grand Prix: Webber & Vettel wounds have never healed". BBC Sport. 11 April 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/22105955. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
- ↑ Race stopped after 31/56 Laps. Half points awarded
|V T E||Sebastian Vettel|
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| Teammates |
Nick Heidfeld (2007) • Vitantonio Liuzzi (2007) • Sébastien Bourdais (2008) • Mark Webber (2009–2013) •
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| Rivalries |
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