Monday, 25 November 2013

F1 Racing: Sebastian Vettel, the new Legend

Image: Courtesy IBNLive (Brazilian GP 2013, Race Podium)
Sebastian Vettel has now won 9 races, one after the other - a feat no other Formula 1 driver has achieved. He has equaled the Legendary Michael Schumacher's feat of 13 victories in a single year. He knew that with the car and performance, it was important to take the best out of it. There was no point sitting it out with content having already been crowned world champion two races prior.

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 71 1:32:36.300 1 25
2 2 Mark WebberRed Bull Racing 71 +10.4 4 18
(data source: Race Results, FIA)

The results show you that Mark Webber made his final bow to the crowd overtaking the Bullish Fernando Alonso, who has also driven one of his best races fighting for the podium, perhaps gunning for the win, if not second. While winners make it look easy, assuredly, such consistency is no easy feat. Earlier when Mika Hakkinen (for McLaren Mercedes) drove with a car built by Adrian Newey on his way to the championship, I remember him throwing it away at Hungary into the sand trap - one gear shift mistake, driver error most certainly, cost him the whole race.

Sebastian Vettel had many critics as the year progressed. He was being criticized as the Redbull seemed to have a traction control form, absorbing energy as it took corners, giving it additional cornering speed and advantage that almost no other car had. Yet, the consistency of his performance display the grit and aggression hidden behind that mischievous smile.

Adrian Newey
Next year, Ferrari will have a car to reckon with, having recalled Rory Burne, the South African car designer who made Michael Schumacher's legendary car that made F1 racing most uninteresting and let him make the 13 races in a season record in the first place. Adrian Newey (now of Red Bull) will have to bring out his best, knowing that he has one driver who will fight for glory.
Rory Byrne

Alonso partnered by Raikkonen, and Mercedes with a better strategy than earlier should make it all the more interesting. This is a team sport, Engineers excelling, Pit crews dominating - Red Bull does its fastest pitstop in 2.1 seconds, fastest average in a race for any one of its drivers at 2.3 seconds (stationary) and at most 2.8 seconds - their longest stop for either of their drivers. Few Teams have achieved that perfection (after McLaren in their strongest days.)

Should they continue this, Vettel will have a Race winning team with him, no matter what others have. A team that can beat itself in consistency and performance - a message we ought to take away, rather than mere domination of the one driver who makes it look so easy.

Christian Horner seems to be a bag of nerves despite having the best outfit in the pit-lane - will this work for him if both his cars are in trouble? How will the Aussie, Daniel Riccardio perform when he drives next season with a whole new car?

More about the real Sebastian Vettel, youngest 4 time world champion and record holder, in another post. -- Till we meet again ...