#33 Hall of Fame: Sebastian Vettel

2021-03-16 15:49

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#Hall of Fame,

#33 Hall of Fame: Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel was born in Heppenheim on July 3, 1987, to Norbert and Heike. The future Ferrari driver began competing with karts at the age of eigh


Sebastian Vettel was born in Heppenheim on July 3, 1987, to Norbert and Heike. The future Ferrari driver began competing with karts at the age of eight in the Kerpen kart track, owned by Michael Schumacher, idol of the little boy at Sebastian. In 2003 he switched to single-seaters, making his debut in the German Formula BMW championship where he won eighteen out of twenty races in which he participated in 2004.


In 2005 he drives for ASL Mücke Motorsport in the Formula 3 Euro Series, finishing fifth in the final standings with 64 points and winning the award for best rookie in that category. As a reward for the excellent results achieved so far, Vettel is testing a Formula 1 car, the Williams FW27, for the first time in Jerez de la Frontera. The following year, still in the same category, he finished the championship in second place behind Paul Di Resta. He also made some appearances in Formula Renault 3.5 and, despite an injury, he ran the Formula 3 Masters at the Dutch circuit of Zandvoort, finishing in sixth position, obtaining the third best time ever and surprising Frédéric Vasseur, the manager of ASM.


But in August 2006 Sebastian became the third BMW Sauber driver and test driver, making him the youngest driver to have tested a Formula 1 car in Friday's free qualifying sessions at the age of nineteen and fifty-three days. Sebastian's debut is impressive as he tops the second free practice times standings, receiving compliments from his mentor Schumacher. Vettel will also repeat himself on the occasion of the Italian Grand Prix. For 2007 he was confirmed by BMW Sauber as third driver, also committing himself in the first part of the season in the World Series by Renault championship. But after the serious accident that occurred to Kubica during the Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel has his great chance to make his race debut at the United States Grand Prix, at the Indianapolis circuit, and he does it in the best possible way, finishing seventh in qualifying and eighth in the race, earning the first point of his career in Formula 1.


In the middle of the season, Scuderia Toro Rosso fires Scott Speed, and Sebastian replaces him starting from the Hungarian Grand Prix. After a few adaptation races, the German proves all his worth at the Japanese Grand Prix: the conditions are terrible, it rains, and it's cold, but Sebastian seems one of the candidates to get on the podium, before being the protagonist of an accident with Mark Webber, Red Bull driver. The dynamics of the accident, which occurred under the safety car regime, will not be clarified by the television images; subsequently, a video released on YouTube will show that Vettel's collision with Webber was caused by a sharp slowdown of race leader Lewis Hamilton, who was not punished by the FIA ​​anyway.


The images of Sebastian in tears in the pits will go around the world, but the German will have the opportunity to make up for it a week later, taking a fantastic fourth place in China. Thanks to these excellent performances, he earns his confirmation in Toro Rosso for 2008. In the first races of 2008 Vettel does not shine, collecting four retirements in five appearances; his first result of the season is in Turkey, where he manages to finish seventeenth. Then, however, in Monaco he starts in the last row but thanks to a good strategy he manages to place fifth, obtaining the first world points. In the next race, which takes place in Montréal, Canada, he starts from the pit lane and thanks to many accidents and retirements, resisting the attacks by Kovalainen's McLaren, he manages to finish eighth, conquering another point in the world championship.


On the eve of the British Grand Prix weekend, David Coulthard expresses his willingness to retire from racing, and two weeks later, on the Thursday before the German Grand Prix, Red Bull announces the signing of Sebastian as a racing driver. starting from 2009. After a disappointing weekend in Hungary, where he has to retire due to the engine overheating, the German driver manages to make up for it by obtaining the best time in the first practice session on Friday at the European Grand Prix, in Valencia. At Spa he gets an excellent fifth place but in Italy, at Monza, the young German surpasses himself: on Saturday he takes advantage of the adverse weather conditions to get the pole and in the race he drives authoritatively from the first to the last lap, winning his first victory in Formula 1 at the age of twenty-one and seventy-three days.


The German ended his season with a fifth place in Singapore, a sixth place in Japan, a ninth place in China and a fourth place in Brazil, finishing the championship in eighth position in the standings dedicated to drivers, with 35 points. For 2009 he moved to Red Bull, building that partnership that will make him enter the history of Formula 1: the designer of the Anglo-Austrian car is Adrian Newey and the German is excited to drive his new car, even if on some occasions being unexperienced leads him to make some mistakes such as in Australia, when he is second and comes into contact with Kubica, faster than him, with three laps to go.


The German will be penalized for causing an avoidable accident and will face this penalty at the Malaysian Grand Prix, where he will be forced to retire due to a spin when a monsoon storm breaks out on the track. On April 18, 2009, in China he gave Red Bull the first pole position, after having completed only one timed lap respectively in all three qualifying sessions, and twenty-four hours later, in the rain, he managed to conquer his second career victory: Red Bull thus celebrates its first success and a double thanks to the second place of Mark Webber.


In Bahrain the positive streak continues for the German, with a second place conquered starting from the second row on the grid. In Spain, Vettel qualified second, but crossed the line in fourth position, behind his teammate. This allows him to consolidate his third position in the drivers' championship. In Monaco, however, the strategic mistake of mounting soft tires in the first stint, after starting from the second row on the grid, slows him down considerably in the first laps, and after the pit stop an error at the first corner determines the impact against the barriers. Vettel broke the left rear suspension and was forced to retire after fifteen laps. In Turkey he gets his second pole, but thwarts everything on the first lap due to a strategic mistake that gives the victory to Jenson Button. The German, to get back into the fight for the championship victory, needs a success and at Silverstone, on the occasion of the British Grand Prix, Red Bull gets the second double of the season.


Three weeks later, in Germany, Sebastian gets an excellent second place behind his teammate Webber. The championship seems to have reopened but at that moment in the championship the German driver is the victim of two retirements due to car reliability problems: this prevents him from recovering the gap in the standings against Jenson Button, world leader. At Spa he gets a good third place while in Monza, on the day of the double Brawn, Sebastian is only eighth.


He seems to be doing better in the Singapore Grand Prix, where after getting the front row on the starting grid he tails Hamilton for much of the race, before suffering a drive-through for crossing the white line that marks the exit of the pit lane, which will relegate him to fourth place. However, Vettel found redemption a week later, in Suzuka, dominating in qualifying and winning the race, still keeping the fight open to the world championship. In Sao Paulo the German driver does not go beyond the fourth place after starting from the eighth row, due to the rain in qualifying: in this way he climbs to second place in the drivers' championship, but is at an unbridgeable disadvantage from Jenson Button, who thus became World Champion. Vettel will then win the last race of the season on the new Abu Dhabi circuit, becoming runner-up.


In 2010 Red Bull confirmed both Vettel and Webber: the car is even faster than the previous year, but at times it proves unreliable. Sebastian, in fact, in the first two races is deprived of two certain victories, due to the car's lack of reliability. On the third round, in Malaysia, Vettel takes his first victory of the season. After a sixth place obtained in the Chinese Grand Prix, on returning to Europe, in the Spanish Grand Prix he accuses tire problems that force him to an unexpected pit stop, closing the race in third position, gained thanks to the retirement of Hamilton at few laps to go. In Monaco he obtained the third position on the grid but at the start he overtook Kubica to take second place behind his teammate Webber, remaining in this position until the end of the race. The hierarchies at Red Bull now seem overturned: the Australian expert is the first driver, with Sebastian second.


This leads to the Turkish Grand Prix, where Webber gets his third pole in a row and seems to be heading towards his third victory. But Sebastian desperately wants to establish himself to relaunch himself in the world championship. It is therefore for this reason that on lap 39, in a desperate overtaking action, the two Red Bull drivers touch each other and Sebastian is forced to retire, while Webber finishes third. From now on, the relationship between Sebastian and Mark will be quite problematic. In Canada the German finished fourth, while the Valencian citizen got his second seasonal success. In the British Grand Prix, due to a broken tire in the first laps due to a contact with Lewis Hamilton, he obtained the seventh place, while his teammate went on to win the third race of the season.


In Germany he gets a third place, after being overtaken at the start by both Massa and Alonso. In the Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel obtained his fourth pole position in a row, but he was unable to exploit the advantage in the race as he left too much space between himself and the car in front of him (Webber's) under the Safety-Car and, as per regulation, is penalized with a drive through. He finishes the race in third position. At Spa Vettel is the protagonist of an accident with Jenson Button, while he is in third position, therefore he is penalized and relegated to the bottom of the group. But in climbing up positions he comes into contact with Liuzzi who causes a puncture of a tire, which forces him to return to the back of the group.


In Italy, at Monza, Red Bull struggles to keep up with the McLarens and Ferraris and the German only gets the sixth time in qualifying while in the race, despite some problems, he manages to move up to fourth place thanks to a daring strategy. which sees him change tires on the penultimate lap. In Singapore the German driver is second behind Alonso, while in Suzuka he gets his third win of the season. The German is back in contention for the title but the retirement of Yeongam, in South Korea, seems to put him out of the fight. In Brazil, however, Sebastian wins and gets back into the game for the title.


This brings us to Abu Dhabi, the last race of a fantastic season. Sebastian gets pole and leads without problems on Sunday. The McLarens do not represent a threat to the German, while his direct competitors for the world championship, Alonso and Webber, flounder behind Petrov's Renault. Sebastian wins the race and the title and equals James Hunt's 1976 record, which is to become the world leader in the decisive race. Moreover, with his twenty-three years he becomes the youngest World Champion in the history of Formula 1, stealing the record from Lewis Hamilton for only six months.


In 2011, Red Bull starts with the favor of predictions. Vettel, always flanked by Webber, starts the championship on the right foot: he wins the first race in the Australian Grand Prix, dominating the race after taking pole position, ahead of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren and the surprising Russian Vitaly Petrov. Even in the Malaysian Grand Prix he repeats himself, winning pole position and victory. In the Chinese Grand Prix he wasted his third pole of the season with a slow start, reaching the finish line behind British McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton. In the Turkish Grand Prix, he starts for the fourth time in pole position and gets his third championship victory, ahead of team mate Mark Webber and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso. In the Spanish Grand Prix, he wins the fourth race out of five, strengthening his leadership in the standings. On May 29th he too wins in the Monaco Grand Prix.


On June 12th he finished second in the spectacular Canadian Grand Prix; after several interruptions and after dominating for sixty-nine and a half laps, put under pressure by Jenson Button, he misses the corner and gives the Englishman an unexpected victory. Two weeks later in Valencia, he won the European Grand Prix, bringing his advantage over Button and Webber to 77 points. On September 11th he won the Italian Grand Prix, also obtaining the Cup for the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, and finally became World Champion for the second consecutive time in his career at only twenty-four years of age in Japan, arriving third behind Button and Alonso. In the Indian Grand Prix he triumphs again and wins the eleventh Grand Prix of the season starting from pole.


The 2012 season begins in a fluctuating way for the German: the RB8, in fact, does not immediately show his speed and Vettel finishes second in Australia. In Malaysia he touches Narain Karthikeyan's car, puncturing his tire and finishing eleventh. In China he comes fifth, even behind his teammate. In Bahrain Vettel gets the so-called Hat Trick, winning the race, and getting pole position (the first of the season) and fastest lap; He also returns to the top of the world rankings with 53 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton (49) and his teammate Mark Webber (48). The following races are fluctuating: after the victory in Bahrain, the German, due to dull performances, does not go to the podium for four consecutive races, losing ground to Alonso, championship leader, and Webber.


Behind his victorious companion also in Great Britain, in Germany Vettel first came second behind Alonso, but for an irregular overtaking against Button he was relegated to fifth position. Followed by a fourth place in Hungary, a second place in Belgium, and a retirement in Italy, in Monza. Then, After almost six months Vettel returns to win in the Singapore Grand Prix; However, the retirement of Hamilton, the undisputed ruler of the race up to that moment, was decisive. The next two Grands Prix, in Japan and Korea, are dominated by Sebastian: in Suzuka the German gets his second Grand Chelem (pole position, fastest lap, victory and in the lead from start to finish), while in Korea he starts in second position, but immediately passes in front of everyone overtaking his teammate Mark Webber, with suspected problems at Kers. Thus, he returns to the top of the drivers' championship with six points behind Fernando Alonso.


Subsequently, in the Indian Grand Prix he starts in first position, and remains there for the duration of the race, thus reaching his fourth consecutive victory and the fifth of the season, increasing the gap on Fernando Alonso, reaching thirteen points in three races from the end. In timed practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the German driver achieved the third time, but due to irregularities in the amount of petrol on board at the end of qualifying (less than a liter of petrol remained in the tank, a minimum limit imposed by the Federation), is relegated to last place.


Vettel and Red Bull decide to replace the gearbox, thus starting from the pit lane, in penultimate position ahead of Pedro de la Rosa, who also started from the pits. Despite two contacts in the early stages of the race that also force him to an early pit stop to replace the front wing, damaged in the collision with a polystyrene sign, and following a contact with Bruno Senna, Sebastian manages to reassemble and, thanks even at the double entry of the safety car, a few laps from the end he overtakes Jenson Button and ranks in third position. His rival Fernando Alonso comes in front of him, in second position behind Finnish Kimi Räikkönen, earning just three points over the German, who maintains a 10-point lead with two races to go.


In the United States Grand Prix Vettel starts from pole position, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber, while in the race he gets a very important second position in view of the decisive race in Brazil. The championship thus ends in Interlagos, Brazil: in a dramatic race the German starts badly, finds himself in the middle of the group and at the curve Descida do Lago is the victim of a spin that makes him fall back to last position. The car is hit on the right side by Bruno Senna and Sergio Pérez is also involved in the collision. Even if the bottom is damaged, the German does not give up and moves up positions after positions. At this point, a placement in points would be enough for the German to be crowned champion: Sebastian manages to finish sixth, becoming World Champion for the third consecutive time.


In 2013 Red Bull confirmed its position as one of the most competitive cars, although initially it was not superior to its rivals as had happened in 2011. In the opening race in Australia Vettel reached the finish line in third position after starting from pole position. In the following Malaysian Grand Prix the German driver took his first victory of the season. At the end of the race, however, Vettel is involved in a controversy with his teammate Mark Webber, who accuses him of having overtaken him despite the team having forced the drivers to maintain their positions after the last tire change.


Having taken the lead in the general classification thanks to this statement, he remains there in the following races. Once again victorious in Bahrain, Vettel consolidates his leadership with a fourth place in Spain and a second in Monaco, then taking his third win of the season in Montreal, Canada. In the British Grand Prix, however, the German driver was forced to retire due to a mechanical problem, seeing his advantage reduced over his rivals. In subsequent races, thanks also to the change in tire supply by Pirelli, Red Bull is once again extremely competitive and Vettel clearly dominates, taking seven victories in eight Grands Prix, winning the fourth consecutive world title at the Italian Grand Prix. 'India, three races before the end of the championship. The German driver thus reaches Alain Prost in the ranking of the most successful drivers ever, behind only Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio.


In the season finale Vettel continues his streak of successes, reaching eight consecutive victories in the United States Grand Prix and beating the record of seven consecutive wins that belonged to Alberto Ascari and Michael Schumacher. The German driver improved further in the final Brazilian Grand Prix, taking his ninth consecutive victory. Thanks to this success he closes the championship with 397 points, beating his own record of points won in one season (392 in 2011). The opponents are annihilated, and they think that Sebastian can be dominant also in 2014. However, Red Bull pays for the change of regulation with the transition from V8 engines to the use of power units. Mercedes becomes dominant, while in the winter tests Vettel struggles to accumulate kilometers, stopped several times by reliability problems.


Even in the inaugural Australian Grand Prix, the German driver had to retire in the early stages of the race due to a technical problem, but he already made up for it in the following Malaysian Grand Prix, winning third place behind Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Later in the season, however, the four-time World Champion is less effective than his teammate, taking only another third place in the Canadian Grand Prix and a second place in the Singapore Grand Prix. Finally, on the occasion of the Japanese Grand Prix he obtained the third place, and on November 20, 2014, his move to Ferrari for the 2015 season was announced. On November 29, 2014, Vettel tests a Ferrari for the first time, testing the F2012 at Fiorano, and on February 1, 2014, he brings the new Ferrari SF15-T to its debut at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, in the first pre-season winter test session.  The season begins with positive results for the German driver, who, after finishing the Australian Grand Prix in third place, takes his first victory in Ferrari in the subsequent Malaysian Grand Prix and in the Chinese Grand Prix gets another podium, ranking third.


In Bahrain he closed the race in fifth place, after suffering problems with the front wing following an off-track. Vettel returns to the podium in subsequent rounds in Spain and Monaco, where he closes in third and second position respectively. In Canada, due to engine problems, he only qualified in sixteenth position, and was then dropped back in eighteenth for having overtaken under the red flag during free practice. In the race he managed to recover up to fifth place, finishing behind his teammate, Kimi Räikkönen.


In Austria, starting in third position, Vettel finished fourth due to a problem in the pits caused by the fixing of the left rear tire. In the British Grand Prix, starting in sixth position, the German driver finds himself ninth after a few corners, but thanks to the rain and the perfect management of the race he manages to grab third place. Sebastian returns to victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he remains in first position throughout the race, after overtaking the Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg that preceded him on the starting grid.


In the Belgian Grand Prix, starting from eighth, he was forced to retire when he was third, caused by the explosion of the right rear tire. In the next Grand Prix, that of Italy, in Monza, he manages to place his Ferrari on the podium, behind Lewis Hamilton, on what Vettel himself will declare to be the best podium of his career. In the Singapore Grand Prix Sebastian Vettel hits the first pole position with the car from Maranello, a result he had been missing from sixty-one Grand Prix races, and during the race, despite the two entries of the safety car, he manages to dominate from start to finish.


In the following three races in Japan, Russia and the United States he wins a second and two third places, while in Mexico he retires due to a collision with the barriers. In the last round of the world championship in Abu Dhabi he finished fourth, after starting in sixteenth position in qualifying due to misunderstandings in the pits. Sebastian is thus the first driver to have achieved thirteen podiums in his debut year at Ferrari, an absolute record in these circumstances. This concludes his first season in Ferrari with the third position in the drivers' standings. In 2016 Ferrari aims straight for the world title but the season is not up to the challenge. The German climbs on the podium in Australia, behind the Mercedes drivers, while in Bahrain he is the victim of an engine failure during the reconnaissance lap.


In China Vettel gets an excellent second place in comeback, while in Russia his race ends on the first lap due to an accident with Kvyat. In the Spanish Grand Prix he marks only the sixth time in qualifying, but in the race he conquers the third position after a great fight with Daniel Ricciardo, who, puncturing a tire two laps from the end, will arrive behind him, in fourth position. In the following Monaco Grand Prix he finished fourth in qualifying, behind the two Mercedes and Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull, which seem to adapt better to the characteristics of the circuit. The next day, in a race held mainly in the wet, the drivers start behind the safety car, which remains on track for the first ten laps. The position on his arrival does not change, always finishing fourth behind Sergio Pérez, who manages to take advantage of his team's excellent strategy to be able to maintain the position in front of the Ferrari driver until the end.


Two weeks later, in Canada, Ferrari made changes to the turbocharger and rear wing that allow the car to take advantage of the high speeds that can be reached on the circuit. These evolutions bring Sebastian noticeably closer to his Mercedes rivals, managing to conquer a third place in qualifying, just a few tenths from the drivers of the Stuttgart team. On Sunday Vettel is the protagonist of an excellent start, which immediately brings him to the first position, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The car is very competitive in the hands of the German driver, but the two-stop strategy does not allow him to maintain the leadership, so Hamilton wins and Sebastian is forced to settle for the second position which he will also get in the next Grand Prix raced in Baku, in Azerbaijan.


In the Austrian Grand Prix, after being penalized by five positions on the starting grid, starting from the ninth place, with a conservative strategy he soon managed to climb back to the top positions, but during the twenty-seventh lap, while he was in the lead, he still did not make the stop unlike his rivals, the right rear tire bursts, forcing him to retire. In Great Britain, after scoring sixth place in qualifying, he was relegated to eleventh position for replacing the gearbox. In the race, Ferrari does not shine, neither with him nor with his teammate Kimi Raikkonen who finishes fifth, and the German driver is forced to settle for ninth position.


In the German Grand Prix, Ferrari is not competitive and the German has to settle for fifth position. In the Belgian Grand Prix he reaches the finish line in sixth position. In the Italian Grand Prix in Monza he wins third place. During the first lap of the Malaysian Grand Prix, he collides with compatriot Nico Rosberg, who causes his third retirement of the season. Later he obtained two fourth places in Japan and in the United States, while in Mexico, despite finishing third at the finish line, after the race he was given a ten-second penalty, thus dropping to fifth place.


In the Brazilian Grand Prix he finishes fifth after a spin on the first lap, which makes him fall back to fifteenth position and forcing him to a long comeback; nevertheless Vettel is satisfied with the result, given the numerous accidents caused by the rain that also involved the same teammate. In the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix he closes in third position after starting from fifth place. Vettel closes behind the two of Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who became World Champion in the final Grand Prix at the expense of his teammate. Vettel's result is the result of a good strategy, which allowed him to mount soft tires in the final, putting both his teammate and the two Red Bull Racing drivers.


The 2017 Formula 1 season begins in an optimal way for Sebastian and his Ferrari, who conquers his fourth victory with the Maranello team in the Melbourne Grand Prix, imposing himself on the Mercedes duo, composed of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, respectively second and third. In the Chinese Grand Prix he finishes second behind Hamilton. In the Bahraini Grand Prix, the German, who started from third position, overtook Lewis Hamilton at the start, placing himself behind Valtteri Bottas. Jumping into the lead at the end of the tire change pinwheel, he manages to resist the Finnish attack after the restart; after this episode, Vettel stretches and precedes the Mercedes couple on the finish line.


In qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix he gets his first pole of the season, but at the start Valtteri Bottas burns both Ferraris, taking his first career victory. Vettel finishes second, only six tenths behind. In Spain, after the second position in qualifying, he overtook Lewis Hamilton at the start, but he overtook him again on lap 44, finishing second. In the Monaco Grand Prix the German takes the front row next to his teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who was not on pole since the 2008 French Grand Prix, but in the race Vettel takes first place after the pit stop on lap 34 and he keeps it up to the end, with the Finn second. Thus, Vettel and Ferrari stretch in their respective rankings over Hamilton and Mercedes.


In the Canadian Grand Prix, qualified second, Vettel finished fourth after a comeback from last position due to a contact at the start with Max Verstappen's Red Bull. In the Azerbaijani Grand Prix he qualified fourth, but in the race at the end of the safety car regime, while he was second, he collided with the race leader Lewis Hamilton, guilty of having slowed down suddenly, and responded by flanking him and hitting him with a wheel. The Ferrari driver will be penalized with a ten-second Stop & Go, but will be able to finish fourth ahead of his English rival, in a race that, with hindsight, could have seen him victorious. Following the accident, Vettel will be summoned to the FIA ​​court on 3 July to establish any additional penalties in addition to the one inflicted in the race.


In the Austrian Grand Prix he returns to the podium after two races, finishing second behind Valtteri Bottas. In Great Britain, having started third, Sebastian immediately loses the chance to fight for the victory, getting stuck behind Max Verstappen who had overtaken him at the start. Overcoming the Dutchman thanks to the pit stop, Vettel was unable to resist the return of Valtteri Bottas, and in the last laps both Ferraris punctured the front left tire: the German finished seventh, with Hamilton reaching only one point in the standings. In Hungary he obtained the second pole of the season, and in the race, despite the steering problems, he managed to lead to the end, winning the fourth victory of the season, extending to 14 points over Lewis Hamilton in the championship.


In the Belgian Grand Prix Sebastian finishes in second place, behind Lewis Hamilton, after having also set the fastest lap in the race, and in the Italian Grand Prix he comes third after a very difficult weekend. Taking advantage of the stage victory, Hamilton leaps to the top of the championship with 238 points, against 235 of the German. In Singapore, despite Ferrari's problems in free practice, Vettel managed to win his third pole of the season in qualifying, with Hamilton starting only fifth. At the start of the race, however, he is the protagonist of an accident with team mate Kimi Räikkönen and Max Verstappen, in which all three are forced to retire. With the victory of rival Hamilton, Vettel is 28 points behind the British.


In qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, due to car problems, Vettel starts last, with his rival Hamilton starting from pole position. In the race he is the protagonist of a great comeback: thanks to the pit stop the German overtakes Valtteri Bottas for the fourth position, and in the following laps he beats the track record that belonged to Juan Pablo Montoya set in the 2004 edition. Towards the forty-fifth lap the German approaches Daniel Ricciardo for the podium, but the Australian manages to defend himself from the attacks of Ferrari. After crossing the finish line, Vettel is the protagonist of a contact with Lance Stroll on the return lap to the pits. In Japan, the German started from second position on the grid thanks also to Bottas' penalty, but was forced to retire after a few laps due to problems with a spark plug, thus losing more points to the world leader Hamilton, who won starting from pole position.


In the United States of America, started from the second box, at the start he overtook Lewis Hamilton and took the first position, keeping it until the sixth lap, when the British took the lead again. After the second pit stop Vettel finds himself fourth, but thanks to a good strategy from Ferrari, he overtakes Valtteri Bottas and teammate Kimi Raikkonen in the final laps and closes the race in second position, behind Hamilton. In Mexico Vettel conquers the fourth pole position of the season, ahead of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. At the start he is the protagonist of a contact with the Dutch Red Bull driver and Hamilton, which causes the front wing of his Ferrari to break and the right rear wheel of the British car to be punctured.


Both are forced to a stop in the pits, while Verstappen proceeds in first position, which he maintains until the end by winning the race. Vettel recovered up to fourth position, also scoring the fastest lap, while Hamilton finished in ninth position, winning the world title. In Brazil, starting from the second position, Vettel manages to overtake Valtteri Bottas at the start and takes the lead of the Grand Prix, which he keeps up to the finish line (except for a few laps in which he gives it to Hamilton, who had not yet stopped), obtaining the fifth win of the season, increasing the advantage over Bottas himself to 22 points in the fight for the second position in the drivers' standings. In Abu Dhabi he finishes third, never fighting for victory. He closes the season in second place with 317 points, with five wins, four pole positions and thirteen podiums.


The 2018 season starts positively for Vettel: in the opening race in Australia he qualifies third, behind Lewis Hamilton and teammate Kimi Raikkonen. At the start, the first three maintained their respective positions, but on lap twenty-six, while Hamilton and Raikkonen had already changed their tires, using the virtual safety car system, Vettel made the pit stop and returned just ahead of the British. After the safety car came out, the Ferrari driver managed to maintain his position and in the last laps, thanks to the problems accused by Hamilton, he managed the race to the finish, winning the Australian Grand Prix. At the Bahrain Grand Prix, Vettel takes pole position ahead of team mate Raikkonen. In the race he keeps his head after the start and makes the only stop mounting soft tires on the nineteenth lap, managing them for the remaining laps of the race and resisting in the last laps the return of Valtteri Bottas: it is his second consecutive victory in the championship, and the tenth with Ferrari.


Sebastian also took pole position in the Chinese Grand Prix, again ahead of Kimi Räikkönen, this time by eighty-seven thousandths of a second. At the start he keeps the first position, but after the pit-stop he drops to second place, overtaken by Valtteri Bottas, who had stopped a lap before the Ferrari driver. After the safety car he was rammed by Max Verstappen during an attack attempt. Vettel continues with the damaged car, finishing eighth.


In Baku he wins the third consecutive pole, and in the race he keeps the first position until the stop; Valtteri Bottas takes the lead, but after the accident between Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen the Safety Car enters the track, earning Bottas the first position. At the restart the German, threatened by Hamilton, tries to overtake the Finn, but goes long and loses positions. He will finish fourth, giving the head of the world championship to Lewis Hamilton. In the Spanish Grand Prix Vettel qualified third, behind the two Mercedes. At the start he overtakes Valtteri Bottas and gets behind Hamilton. During the Safety Car period he goes to the pits to make his second stop, but the slow pace of the pit stop relegates him behind Max Verstappen. The German fails to worry the Red Bull standard bearer, and thus closes in fourth place. Hamilton, winner of the race, extends to 17 points in the championship standings.


In the following Grand Prix Sebastian qualifies second behind Daniel Ricciardo, and ends the race in the same position. In the Canadian Grand Prix he conquers the fourth pole position of the season, also setting the circuit record. In the race he is the author of an excellent performance and wins his fiftieth race in Formula 1, leading all the laps of the race, and brings Ferrari back to victory in Canada after fourteen years of abstinence. In France he qualifies in third position, but in the race he is the author of an accident with Valtteri Bottas at the start. After a stop to replace the nose of his Ferrari, the German is forced to a comeback that takes him from fifteenth place to fifth. Mercedes' rival Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, who took pole position, wins the Grand Prix, taking the lead in the Championship with a 14-point advantage over Vettel. In qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix he gets the third time, but is penalized by three positions on the grid for slowing down Carlos Sainz Jr. in Q2, losing even a point from the Super license and being dropped back to sixth. In the race he is the author of a comeback by finishing third, behind Verstappen and Räikkönen.


Furthermore, thanks to the withdrawal of the two Mercedes drivers, he returns to the top of the Drivers' World Championship with a point ahead of Hamilton. At Silverstone, the following week, the Ferrari driver took second place in qualifying, giving pole to Lewis Hamilton for forty-four thousandths of a second, ahead of team mate Kimi Räikkönen. In the race, thanks to an excellent starting point, he manages to take the lead and maintains it until, under the Safety Car regime, he makes the second stop of the Grand Prix, thus giving the leadership to Bottas, who does not stop. In the final race Sebastian overtakes the Finn and celebrates his fifty-first career victory, thus equaling the number of victories of Alain Prost. Behind him come Hamilton and Raikkonen. The success allows Vettel to consolidate his first place in the world championship, with an 8-point advantage over his English rival.


This result raises morale in the Ferrari team, to the point that in Germany Sebastian wins pole, and thanks to Hamilton's fourteenth place in qualifying, everything leads to think of an easy triumph for the German driver. At the start Sebastian Vettel maintains the first place, but on the 52nd lap, while he is in the lead, he goes off the track due to the difficult weather conditions, and is forced to retire. The race is won by Hamilton, who thus returns first in the standings. Two weeks later, in Budapest, the German, after starting from fourth position, closes second, behind Lewis Hamilton, who extends his lead to 24 points.


After the summer break, in the Belgian Grand Prix, Vettel qualified second in a session characterized by rain, and managed to win the race after passing Hamilton on the first lap of the Grand Prix. Having achieved his thirteenth victory in Ferrari, Sebastian equals Alberto Ascari's victories with the Maranello team and reduces the gap from the top of the standings. At the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Ferrari and Sebastian are expected to triumph again, but he is beaten by team mate Räikkönen in qualifying. The German thus starts second, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, but during the first lap of the race he remains involved in a contact with Hamilton in the second variant, and is forced to a comeback from the back of the grid. After a series of overtakes he ends the race in fourth position, losing points in the championship to Hamilton.


At the Singapore Grand Prix the German made a couple of mistakes in the last qualifying lap and was unable to do better than third place, beaten by Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. In the race Vettel confirms his third position, thus seeing the gap in the standings further increase from his rival. Not even in the following races the situation improves. In the Russian Grand Prix he qualifies and finishes third, while Hamilton wins again, while at Suzuka he qualifies only eighth in a qualifying session disturbed by rain. In the race Vettel starts well, recovering immediately up to fourth place, but on lap eight he tries to overtake Max Verstappen at the Spoon and ends up in a spin. Subsequently, Sebastian manages to move up from last to sixth place while Hamilton, now winner for four consecutive times, increases his advantage to 67 points, making the conquest of the world championship by Vettel and Ferrari more and more difficult.


In the United States Grand Prix, the German qualified second, but was penalized by three places for not having slowed down sufficiently under the red flag, during practice. In the race, Vettel made contact with Daniel Ricciardo during the first lap, ending up in a spin. He manages to recover from the back of the grid to fourth place. A week later in Mexico, he qualifies fourth, behind Red Bulls and Lewis Hamilton. In the race he finishes in second place behind the winner Max Verstappen, but it is not enough to keep the world fight open: Hamilton is crowned World Champion for the fifth time in his career, finishing in fourth place, while Vettel mathematically conquers the second place in the drivers' standings. Finally, he gets a sixth and second place in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.


The 2019 season does not start well for Vettel, who does not seem to be able to compete with Mercedes. In Australia he qualified third and finished fourth in the race after battling with Max Verstappen. In Bahrain the SF90 proves to be the most competitive and Vettel qualifies second behind team mate Charles Leclerc. In the race, after overtaking the Monegasque at the start, he is again overtaken by the same a few laps later. During the race Sebastian is the author of a battle with Lewis Hamilton, which leads him to lose control of the car and end up in a spin; after replacing the damaged aileron he finishes fifth.


In China, Vettel qualified third but was overtaken at the start by his teammate; however, after a few laps Sebastian overtook Charles thanks to a team order, and at the end of the race he finished third, taking the first podium of the season. In the Azerbaijani Grand Prix, in qualifying Sebastian fails to do better than third place, keeping it until the end of the race, while in Spain, who started third, he compromises his race with a block in the first corner, finishing fourth. In Monaco, starting from the fourth position, he finished second following the accident between Verstappen and Bottas in the pit lane.


Sebastian recovers at the Canadian Grand Prix, as he wins pole position on the Montréal circuit, but during the race he is given a penalty for a return to the track considered dangerous: on lap 48 Vettel misses a chicane, but manages to return on the track always in front of Hamilton, who however complains about his opponent's maneuver, which would have pressed him towards the wall. The race direction imposes a five-second penalty on Vettel for having re-entered the track in a manner considered dangerous, so that Hamilton, on the second track, is in fact first, as his gap from Vettel is less than five seconds.


In the last laps Hamilton approaches Vettel, without however being able to worry the German, being able to count on the penalty that Vettel is serving on the race time. The race ends with Vettel crossing the line first but, due to the five second penalty, it is Lewis Hamilton who wins the race. At the end of the race, Sebastian Vettel, disappointed by the jury's decision to penalize him by five seconds on the total time and by two points on the Super license, chooses not to park his Ferrari under the podium, where the cars of the drivers who have arrived are expected to park. in the first three places. The German thus also avoids the post-race interview, carried out before the awards ceremony. Returning to the car area, Vettel moves the sign indicating the first comer, placed in front of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, to position it where he should have left his car, as second. The German then climbs to the podium, confirming his opposition to the jury's decision, in the interview carried out on the podium itself.


"I lost the rear when entering the third variant, I couldn't do anything different. I went over the grass, the tires got dirty, I had to fight to keep control of the car and I succeeded. When I looked in the mirror, I saw that Hamilton was in that spot, but what could I do? He could pass me inside, he had time. I'm pissed, we won even though we weren't the fastest, Lewis was faster than us, but we still managed to keep him behind. The decision of the stewards will not make our sport popular, we were duelling, it was a nice confrontation...".


Scuderia Ferrari announces that it intends to appeal to the International Automobile Federation regarding the penalty decided by the commissioners, but later withdraws the appeal from the FIA ​​court, preferring to make use of the rule of the sporting code which provides for the possibility of reviewing the decisions taken, bringing new elements that were not available at the time the action was taken. The Scuderia Ferrari is granted fourteen days from the day of the race, so on June 20, 2019, the FIA ​​agrees to discuss the request presented by the Italian team. The following day the marshals reject the complaint proposed by Ferrari, since some of the points, brought to the attention of the marshals, and on which a review of the judgment was requested, are considered as already evaluated on the day of the race, while other points are considered as not significant.


After finishing fifth in France and fourth in Austria, Vettel starts sixth at Silverstone and finishes sixteenth after bumping into Max Verstappen during a battle for third position. Because of this he is also given a ten second penalty. Sebastian's car has an engine problem at Hockenheim and is forced not to take part in Q1. Starting last, taking advantage of the variable conditions he makes himself the author of a great comeback that takes him up to second place. In Hungary he starts fifth and reaches the lowest step of the podium, while in Belgium he finishes in fourth place after helping his teammate, Charles Leclerc, to win his first career Grand Prix.


In Italy, at Monza, the FIA ​​is investigating three drivers, Sainz Jr., Hülkenberg and Strol, as with their slow pace, in the launch lap, less than two minutes from the end of the session, they would have prevented the other drivers to complete the lap before the checkered flag was displayed, including Sebastian Vettel, who should have taken advantage of the slipstream granted by his teammate. Sebastian Vettel is also under investigation, as, in his fastest lap in Q3, he would have almost gone off the track at the Parabolica. The maneuver is considered correct.


In the race, forced to recover positions, Sebastian ends up in a spin and, dangerously returning to the track, ends up in contact with Lance Stroll. Due to this dangerous maneuver he is penalized by ten seconds, finishing only in thirteenth place; he is also given 3 penalty points on the FIA ​​license. Nevertheless, in the Singapore Grand Prix he redeems himself. Vettel, who started third, manages to undercut his teammate, who started from pole, obtaining his first win of the season more than a year after his last success; Thanks to Leclerc's second place, Ferrari is also returning to double for the first time since the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix.


In Russia he retires while in the lead, while in the Japanese Grand Prix he takes pole position; in the race, after starting badly, he had to settle for second position behind Bottas. In Mexico he comes second again, while in the Austin Grand Prix he retires due to a failure of the suspension after starting second. In Brazil he retires again following a sensational accident with team mate Leclerc while fighting for the podium, but is still ranked seventeenth having covered ninety per cent of the race; in the last anonymous race of the season in Abu Dhabi he finished fifth. Vettel ends the season in fifth place in the World Championship with 240 points, also preceded by teammate Leclerc.


On May 12, 2020, with an official press release from Ferrari it is announced that, following fruitless negotiations and by mutual agreement, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari decide not to renew the contract for another season. But later, in the first press conference of the new season, in Austria, Vettel declares that he has never been offered a renewal offer and that the decision not to renew the contract was taken only by the managers of Ferrari. These statements are subsequently confirmed by Mattia Binotto, Ferrari team principal. In the inaugural Grand Prix of the season in Austria, given the difficulties of the car and a contact with Carlos Sainz Jr. that relegates him to the back of the group, the German driver closes in tenth position; at the next Grand Prix, held on the same circuit, Vettel retires on the first lap, touched by his teammate, while he was in tenth position.


In the Hungarian Grand Prix he finished the race in sixth place, first of the two Ferraris but still lapped. In the British Grand Prix, after almost entirely losing free practice on Friday due to various problems on the single-seater, he finishes in tenth position, without finding a feeling with the car and helped to conquer the points zone by punctures of Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jr. In the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, a mistake at the first corner relegates him to the back positions and he will finish the race only twelfth. Vettel returned to points in the next Spanish Grand Prix, where he finished seventh using a one-stop strategy.


After finishing out of the points in Belgium and Italy, where he is forced to retire due to a problem with the braking system, he finishes tenth in Tuscany. Followed by a couple of extremely anonymous performances in Russia and Germany, in which Vettel fails to score even a point. In Portimao Sebastian manages to finish tenth, while in Imola, although in the race he was showing an excellent pace, due to an error in the pits during the pit stop by the mechanics, he concludes close to the points. Much better is the result obtained in Turkey: despite an anonymous qualification from Ferrari, in the race Sebastian has a brilliant sprint at the start, with which he manages to gain seven positions during the first lap; subsequently, thanks to his excellent race conduct, he managed to conquer a third place, the first podium of the season, breaking a fast that had lasted since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix.


In the two Grand Prix held in Bahrain, the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Sakhir Grand Prix, Vettel does not score points, as well as in the last round of the season in Abu Dhabi. On the eve of the Tuscan Grand Prix, Aston Martin announces his signing for 2021. Sebastian thus leaves Ferrari after six seasons with fourteen wins, fifty-five podiums and twelve pole positions to his credit, but without that world title he dreamed of as a child, ever since he fell in love, sporting speaking, with the feats accomplished by his idol and mentor Michael Schumacher. He failed to imitate his idol, and probably if he had conquered that iris in red we would probably have seen a different story.


Simone Centonze


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