Vettel, a great who promised greater

Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel is set to retire at the end of 2022 season. Here’s a look at the German’s illustrious career.

Published : Jul 28, 2022 22:31 IST

Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel is set to retire at the end of 2022 season.
Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel is set to retire at the end of 2022 season. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel is set to retire at the end of 2022 season. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Sebastian Vettel’s journey to Formula 1, like most drivers, began through karting.

In 1998, he was picked up by the Red Bull Junior team when he was just 11. Rising through the European racing circuits, the German was soon chosen first as a test driver and then as the third driver for the now-defunct BMW Sauber side in 2006.

In the 2007 season, Vettel made his Formula One debut replacing Robert Kubica as Sauber’s second driver in the USA Grand Prix. By finishing eighth, he became the then youngest driver to score a point in F1 history.

Recognising his talent, Toro Rosso, the sister team of Red Bull, decided to bring him in as one of its two first-team drivers for the 2008 season which turned out to be the future four-time world champion’s breakthrough season as he secured his first pole and first win in F1 at the Italian Grand Prix.

In 2009, Red Bull promoted the 22-year-old into its fold beginning a fruitful spell for both the driver and the Austria-based side as they went on to dominate the sport under the guidance of master engineer Adrian Newey.

From 2009 to 2013, Vettel secured the pole position 44 times, won 38 races, and clinched the World Championship in four consecutive seasons. His dominance reached its pinnacle in the 2013 season when he won nine races on the trot on the way to his fourth title, which he claimed by a whopping margin of 155 points.

However, the 2014 season brought an end to the German’s reign at the top as Mercedes began to assert its dominance. Soon, Vettel switched his allegiance to Ferrari, turning his childhood dream of racing for the Italian giant into reality.

The German was roped in to fight Mercedes’ dominance but the silver arrows, led by Lewis Hamilton, always remained a step ahead of Vettel and Ferrari. A change in team leadership during the 2018 season did not make the task easier. Vettel’s nip and tuck with teammate Charles Leclerc, including the pair’s infamous crash at the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2019, added spice to his last two seasons with Ferrari.

In his six seasons with Ferrari, Vettel managed 14 wins, the third-most with Ferrari, behind Michael Schumacher (72) and Nikki Lauda (15). All in all, Vettel’s spell with the Prancing Horse proved to be mostly underwhelming.

Top five moments of Sebastian Vettel's career

Five Fantastic Feats from Sebastian Vettel’s F1 career

The twilight of Vettel’s career has been spent at Aston Martin, where he has toiled among the mid-table spots. He managed one podium in the 2021 season, while this season, his best finish has been a sixth-place finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Recently, Vettel also made headlines with his remarks on environment conservation. The 35-year-old was spotted wearing a t-shirt that read: ‘First Grand Prix under water’ at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.

Despite his struggles in the final stretch of his career, Vettel will be ranked among the greats of the sport for his dominant spell with Red Bull Racing.

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