Top 5 Moments: Sebastian Vettel

Published 12/21/2015, 12:00 PM EST
Sebastian Vettel celebrates in front of the grandstand


In 2006, Sebastian Vettel joined BMW Sauber as a reserve driver and became the youngest driver to participate in a Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend at the age of 19 years and 53 days when he participated in the second Friday free practice and set the fastest time. In 2007, Vettel was confirmed as BMW’s test driver and got his chance to race at the US Grand Prix where he finished 8th and became the youngest driver to ever score a point in Formula 1 at the age of 19 years and 349 days. Later in 2007, he was released by BMW and joined Toro Rosso. In 2009, he was promoted to Red Bull with whom he won his 4 world titles. Recently, Vettel left Red Bull to join Ferrari for the 2015 Formula 1 season and has a contract to run for the Italian team till 2017.

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Here, we look at the Top 5 moments Sebastian Vettel had in his Formula 1 career till date.

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5. 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix

After a dismal 2014 season with Red Bull, Vettel made the emotional decision to leave the team with whom he won 4 world championships and move to Ferrari. Ferrari themselves had had a bad 2014 season but restructuring in the whole team and management meant that the “new” came out to be the only challengers to the dominant Mercedes. Malaysia proved to be the first of the three victories Sebastian would eventually take in the 2015 season.

A superior pace in the hot conditions and a risky strategy paid dividends for the Maranello team as Sebastian took his first victory in over a year and Ferrari’s in over two years. By not pitting behind the safety car, Sebastian stretched his tyres while the Mercedes duo got stuck behind in traffic which meant that Vettel gained a comfortable lead and eventually he won by a 10 second margin. Vettel finished 3rd in the championship and was the only driver to win a race and take pole position other than the Merc drivers.

Going into the final race of the season, Sebastian had a 13 point cushion to rival Fernando Alonso. After a close eventful race full of spins and in which Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India was fighting for the lead, Vettel had a first lap collision with Bruno Senna which left him pointing in the opposite direction with damage to his left side pod. He was fortunately able to continue in 22nd position. He fought his way back to 6th after passing his hero Michael Schumacher and took the championship win by just 3 points. Alonso’s 2nd place finish was not able to earn him the title. Sebastian became the youngest triple world champion at the age of 25.

In 2012, against all odds Sebastian Vettel staged a huge comeback after starting from the pit lane to finish on the podium in 3rd place. Vettel’s Red Bull set the fastest time in Q3 but he was told to stop the car at the end of the session due to a faulty fuel pump which meant he failed the FIA Scrutiny test after qualifying as the car had less than 1 litre of fuel left, a minimum amount that must be left in the car after qualifying.

The penalty put the Red Bull dead last on grid. But the team decided to take the car out of parc-ferme to change the cars setup to give Vettel more speed than downforce to allow him to overtake other cars more easily. Starting from the pit lane, Vettel was helped by 2 safety car periods and finished 3rd after passing Jenson Button in the latter stages of the race. Fortunately, Vettel’s title rival finished 2nd as he was held of by race winner Kimi Raikkonen.

In 2010, Vettel became the youngest World Champion in the sport’s history to overcome a 15 point deficit to Alonso in the last race at Abu Dhabi. Vettel had an up and down season due to technical issues meaning he failed to finish a few races from the lead. In the second last race of the season at Brazil, Vettel and teammate Mark Webber finished 1 and 2 to secure Red Bull’s first Constructor Title.

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Vettel and Redbull won 4 championships in the drivers and constructors standing from 2010-2013

At the final round in Abu Dhabi, there were 3 contenders for the Driver’s Title – Alonso, Webber and Vettel with him being 15 points behind Fernando Alonso. But Vettel won the race after starting from pole and took the lead in the driver’s standings for the first time the whole season to win that title by 4 points from Fernando Alonso who finished a lowly 7th.  This was only the third time in the history of Formula 1 when the world champion had not been championship leader at any earlier point in the season.

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Sebastian Vettel became the youngest driver to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Italian Grand Prix in 2008 in his Toro Rosso aged just 21 years and 74 days. Earlier, he also became the youngest pole sitter after putting the fastest times in both Q2 and Q3. He led for majority of the race and finished 12.5 seconds clear of 2nd place. It was a classic Vettel race after starting from pole and winning, something we became used to seeing during his four title winning seasons. After a string of good performances to end his rookie season, Vettel was announced the Rookie of the Year at the Autosport Awards in 2008.

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Kushagra Agarwal

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