Michael Schumacher was undoubtedly an icon and the most beloved motorsport figure in Germany. One Formula 1 star in particular, looked up to him as an idol, Sebastian Vettel. The current Ferrari driver actually got up close and personal with Schumi during his karting days. One image showed Schumacher presenting a trophy to a very young and very star-struck Vettel.
When Sebastian Vettel debuted in Formula One in 2007 with Toro Rosso, Schumi had retired. So, Vettel lost his chance to compete alongside his favourite driver. However, Schumacher staged a comeback in 2010 and there was hope for Vettel and they did race against each other.
This gif of Michael Schumacher giving little Seb his winner's trophy is so heartwarming ♥️ you can see by the way he's walking how joyful was this moment. pic.twitter.com/tmiFtF2tkO
— The Vettels (@TVettels) September 15, 2019
“He was my hero,” Sebastian Vettel told F1 Racing’s magazine. “I used to have posters on the wall of him. I met Michael for the first time when I was seven. Then, later, I got to know him as a person, and he was always there for me, with a word of advice or help.”
Schumacher and Vettel even teamed up for the annual Race of Champions on a number of occasions. In 2012, Michael Schumacher even aided Sebastian Vettel in his title bid by allowing him pass. This was in spite of the fact that there was a Ferrari driver competing against him.
Later on in his career, Sebastian Vettel developed a fairly close bond with Michael’s son, Mick Schumacher. Now, in the latest edition of the ROC, Vettel teams up with Schumacher Jr to carry on their ROC tradition of having Vettel team up with a Schumacher.
Since Michael Schumacher’s head injury, Sebastian Vettel had been partnering either with Nico Hülkenberg or Pascal Wehrlein. However, in 2017, Vettel won the Nations Cup pairs’ event driving solo, after getting special dispensation to do all the driving for Team Germany after Wehrlein was injured in a crash on the opening day.