#F1: Fat Hippo’s Rant – Perils of supporting Vettel…

The Perils and Perks of being a Sebastian Vettel Supporter

There are a few things in life that one should avoid. You should not, for instance, stick two metal objects into the holes of a wall socket. I tried that when I was three years old. I got zapped, shat my pants and blacked out our house.

Other things on your not-to-do list should be arguing with a Russian policeman, ordering a Serbian bean soup in a Croatian restaurant or admitting to being a Sebastian Vettel supporter. I’ve tried all three and although I didn’t soil my britches in the process, none of these has fared me well.

The GAI (Russian traffic police) officer in Omsk, Siberia, bashed my teeth in before even asking my name. Okay, I perhaps shouldn’t have been beyond wasted, staggering out of a taxi and demanding of him in rather rude Russian terms that he clears a roundabout that was actually flooded, because the local river Irtysh had decided it wasn’t entirely satisfied with its normal river bed anymore.

For reasons unbeknown, he didn’t quite appreciate my excellent knowledge of Russian obscenities, though it was obvious it was not my mother tongue.. But considering that the policeman in question was not exactly sober either, we came to a tentative understanding by sharing what was left of my Samogon. Didn’t help with the roundabout, but we had a jolly good time and didn’t quite care about lots of water anymore…

The ill-fated food order in former Yugoslavia came about because – you might have guessed – I wasn’t entirely the epitome of sobriety, at the time and in good natured response a group of locals offered to apply a form of physical treatment to several of my more sensitive body regions that aren’t considered common workplace practice or even healthy in most parts of the planet.

And then there is the third offence of being stupid enough to say: “Umm, I actually think the bloke who won the last four world championships isn’t quite that bad.”

That, apparently, is the equivalent of walking into a kindergarten proclaiming that you have a habit of molesting children. Beyond uncouth. If you’re looking for some kind of achievement, you could become the most slagged-off person on TJ13 yet receiving the accolade of ‘top comment’. Affront of affronts, A relative newcomer to the site has recently started been a challenge to this position of dominance so it is time Seb started winning again.

There have been a number of controversial figures in F1. There’s the toad from Suffolk, who by comparison makes one wonder whether indeed, Al Capone was in fact a decent, law-abiding citizen of Murica.

The there’s Flavio Briatore, the hippo-shaped meat mountain from Italy, representing everything you’ve ever warned your daughter about. In conjunction with a mention of Flavio, we also recall Nelson Piquet, who simply was an idiot.

The list goes on, yet in all twenty-five years I’ve followed F1, I’ve never seen anyone fermenting as much controversy, even hatred, as a lad from Heppenheim.

There is a moron on a well-known F1 forum, who drops by after each race, hurls in a few utterly abusive posts about the German and buggers off until the next racing weekend. Okay,

Sebastian’s timing sucks. Just two years after Schumacher was finally done cleaning the fridge for half a decade, up pops another German. Vettel jumped into an F1 car with his damaged right index finger that he nearly sliced off a few weeks prior, posts the best time in Friday practice, beating all the regular players.

The, when enlisted as substitute for Robert Kubica, who had begun his rather disturbing predilection for badly denting himself in horrible shunts, the German bugger had the audacity to score a point.

It would have been better had there been a longer interlude since Schumacher’s dominance…. let the big spending regulars win a bit more…. before the next serial-winning German came by.

This appeared to hurt the F1 establishment in Blighty more than others, maybe they are still somewhat sensitive to the loss of their ‘Empire’ status.

The issue of timing was not initially noticeable, as back in the day the young German was praised by many, partly due to his youthful innocent looks, though Sebastian did look as though he was having a permanent ‘bad hair’ day. When your top mop looks as though it has been styled by an incidental encounter with a discarded Russian hand grenade, and you sport an inane grin all day long, none is likely to take you seriously.

Sebastian was fortunate, the Red Bovines contracted him whilst he still believed girls were a nuisance, so the day he ceased soiling his diaper, Vettel was stuffed into a Toro Rosso, which is a bit like a Red Bull for the poor. Although a Red Bull wasn’t really much back then either… but I digress…

Anyhow. After proving to be an idiot by clattering into Mark Webber, because he had driven his car into a position (third) it shouldn’t have been anywhere near to begin with, he followed up by coming home fourth. A position that no other STR driver has ever achieved since.

With nine points finishes to his team mate’s two he mauled his four-time CART champion team mate 35 points to 4 in 2008, giving Toro Rosso their first win before big mama Red Bull could do the same. He single-handedly outscored the mother ship by six points and while both cars were designed by Ade Newey, one would be quite brazen to insinuate that he had designed the better car for the farm team. Maybe the two old men in the mother ship were just past it.

Fancy pants Crazy D certainly was, so they called up the young hot shot from the farm team. He repaid them by being an idiot – or ‘inexperienced’ as political correctness demands we call it. He clattered into Kubica in Australia and lost the car in treacherous conditions in Malaysia. But come the third race – lo and behold! – the mother ship finally got their first win. Guess who was at the wheel.

Has there ever been a driver who gave two teams their first win? Jack Brabham probably. No idea. Make that the next Bar Exam. Anyhoo… Considering that only the 2010 points scheme change is responsible for the fact that all other STR drivers combined have actually more points than Vettel scored in 2008 alone, you’d think the boy did something right, and actually, until that time, he did. But he made a mistake – he started winning on a regular basis.

The history is well known – he finished second behind a Brawn, which lamed its way to a title by being ridiculously superior in the first half of the season and then hopeless in the second. The young Hun then won the 2010 title because the Ferrari strategists were idiots in Abu Dhabi. 2011 was like stealing candy from a baby, before 2012 was actually quite close because everybody could win who could get the comedy tyres to work on that particular weekend. 2013 was like 2011, only that the mother had abandoned the baby and nobody really bothered to put up a fight.

In came a lot of people decrying said young man as actually hopeless and claiming that he only won because of the car, and that once in a non-superior car he would be hopeless and throw his toys out of the pram.

But in fact I’ve changed my stance on that and engage in the only fun a Vettel supporter is afforded this year. The game is pretty simple. Go to an internet forum and laugh your backside off about the stuff people come up with in desperate attempts to discuss the four world titles out of the record books or to have at least an asterisk added to them as they are all voided by the fact that they were won in what was clearly the best car – unlike the titles of, let’s say, Mansell, Senna or Häkkinen.

The detractors though were in part correct.

The RB10 is – without stating the obvious – not a winning design, mostly because the not-so-loud bit in the back makes my hairdryer look overpowered. It has won twice with Danny Ricciardo at the wheel, because Mercedes inexplicably managed to self combust, though the once-dominant youngster is indeed looking somewhat hapless at present.

Yet ‘the detractors’ predicted tantrums and paddies – Mmm, no rattle has yet been recorded flying from the pram. In fact the subject of this tale has been soundly beaten by his co-worker in most of their encounters, and to the utter disappointment of the ones who wanted to see handbags flying, he actually congratulated him for it.

Vettel is now paying the price for the ridiculous lengths to which both he and Newey went to develop the exhaust blown diffusor. While the design guru and his engineering team used every gap and loophole in the rule book, Vettel spent five years perfecting a driving style that to a conventional racing driver was completely bonkers. An instinctive racer like Mark Webber could not do that and as a result was left with a car that never really worked for him – in his last season often in the literal sense.

This year the roles are reversed. With the EBD forbidden, Vettel’s meticulously developed driving style is as useless as a chocolate fire guard – despite it’s fine Swiss heritage. Meantime, ‘son of Webber’, is at home with the twitchy nature of a racing car from his time spent in the pre-2014 little bull designs.

For the ‘Honey badger’, the big Bull RB10, as no more twitchy, and does indeed feel a tad quicker.

Seb has literally taken the place of Mark Webber. Not only is he saddled with a car that doesn’t fit his driving style, his car is also the one that that breaks constantly and he’s the one who’s tactic the teams botches up occasionally or he just was rotten bad luck, like the first safety car phase in Hungary.

Vettel gets emotionally invested in his cars. He bonds with them. That is emphasized by his habit of naming them and was demonstrated by how he worshipped his machine after last year’s Indian GP. This year’s vintage and Vettel have never hit it off. While previous cars had names like Luscious Liz, Hungry Heidi or Kate’s dirty sister, he named this years rather aesthetically challenged car Suzie. Which became a typical Vettel blunder, when he remembered the forename name of Williams’s test and development driver.

It is unlikely that he will recover this year as five years of dulling his instincts to learn a counter-intuitive style of driving cannot be undone, especially since he lost a lot of track time in the first half of the season. That he has not completely forgotten how to ‘Seb’, was visible in Barcelona, Canada and Hungary when he was easily on par with Danny boy. Arguably he was en-route to win Canada, until the team’s GPS blunder released him into traffic and allowed Danny to get by, but in a way it was good that he didn’t win. With every race Daniel is gaining in reputation and when the day comes that Seb beats him fair and square, nobody can say he beat a fresh-faced rookie.

And while the gavel-wielding patron is still bitter over Mark, bored and generally miserable and declares Vettel a washout after a mere 10 less-than-stellar Grands Prix, he forgets that Fernando Alonso had almost 100 less-than-satisfying races and nobody would call him a wash-out.

So why did the fat amphibious mammal waste three perfectly usable hours of his time to write this? Simple.

Many readers here have a favourite driver, whom they would defend him/her (outing myself as someone who thinks Suzie Wolff is actually more than just a PR gimmick) with fervour – unless they do something utterly idiotic, like Vettel’s cringe-worthy handling of the aftermath of Multi 21. Up there with that Malaysian debacle is the ‘Cuz I is black’ faux pas and Fred’s lambasting of his team as ‘idiots’ over the team radio at Monza.

There has been a recent upsurge  in facile comment here at TJ13, some of it relates to our “heroes” – as Horner describes them. The result has been a slip in the level of respect which is the usual standard here at TJ13. If we don’t like a driver… fine… but that’s no reason be abusive about him/her… as the level of debate spirals into the gutter.

Most drivers at times are worthy of criticism and long may the TJ13 philosophy of healthy scepticism remain.

If given the opportunity to drive an F1 car, for most of us the point where we close our eyes in terror and bail out… would be no less than 50 metres before Max Chilton even considers using the stop pedal.



78 responses to “#F1: Fat Hippo’s Rant – Perils of supporting Vettel…

    • Agreed! Well done, @FatHippo! Good to see you sliding back into your comfortably-provocative and irreverent role. Love the “Russian hand grenade” hair style reference, too, btw! Wonder if that could go global as other name for the “SebVet mop-top?”

      Anyway, carry on.

  1. “he forgets that Fernando Alonso had almost 100 less-than-satisfying races and nobody would call him a wash-out.”

    Alonso also drove way less than satisfying cars than vettel, rubbish argument to defend Vettel.

    • he also managed to beat his teammate for most of these 100 races. if he had been hopeless against massa, he would have been called a wash out too.

      as far as the driving style is concerned, everybody was driving with exhaust blown diffusers, so how come only vettel has to relearn driving without one?

      • @anijs
        “everybody was driving with exhaust blown diffusers, so how come only vettel has to relearn driving without one?”

        Good point – your conclusion?

        • @thejudge13
          “Good point – your conclusion?”

          I just dont’t think that it is a valid excuse for Vettels recent performance. Everybody had to adapt to new cars, everybody except for the rookies, drove exhaust blown diffusers for the last couple of seasons, nobody drove hybrid turbos in F 1 before. It’s part of the job as an f1 driver to adapt to changes in design. If you can’t do it, you’re not up to the job, simple. I wouldn’t go as far as calling Vettel a wash out, but right now, he is getting humiliated by his teammate, and saying that the car doesn’t fit his driving style just doesn’t cut it as an excuse. If, as was recently suggested, Senna had indeed driven a Minardi at the end of his career, and been dominated by Taki Inue, the conclusion would have probably been that Senna had lost it and not that Inue was obviously quicker because he was used to driving crap cars, while Senna had to unlearn driving a rocket ship. You need (one of) the best car(s) to win in F1, you don’t need that to beat your teammate. And if we stay with the example of Senna, when his McLaren was crap, when he had to adapt to active suspension, and when Williams produced all conquering cars, he wasn’t getting beaten left and right by Berger, Andretti and Hakkinnen, he performed some of his most memorable drives in those years. He even managed to stick the early 1994 Williams on pole by sheer determination, and cemented his reputation as one of the greats. Vettel isn’t cementing his legend this season, he is damaging his reputation. And for someone who can get pretty abrassive when it comes to drives he doesn’t like, the Hippo is willing to cut Seb an awful lot of slack.

  2. I’m glad to admit I’m a Vettel fan too. And I’m glad it seems he is finally getting to grips with RB10. I hope for at least one win this season. A pole would be nice too 🙂

  3. A driver to give two teams there first win, Button off the top of my head, one for Honda, one for Brawn. Not bad for a drive that is people seem not to think to highly of.

    • Actually they’re quite similar, both had the best car and need a perfect car to be quick, and both beat slightly past it team mates, the only difference difference was, Vettel was fortunate enough to be in this position for 4-5 years unlike Button who only in that position for 4-5 months, but at least he keeps on beating his team mates 😉

      • ^
        Drivers who won more than one team their first victory in a Formula One championship race. It’s an intriguing statistic to ponder.

        Going back a bit – and I’m not good on Formula One’s Indianapolis 500 races – I seem to recall that Juan Manuel Fangio gave both Maserati (Monza 1953) and Mercedes-Benz (Nürburgring 1954) their first victories in Formula One, Stirling Moss gave both Cooper (Argentina 1958) and Lotus (Monaco 1960) their first wins as constructors (for Rob Walker) in Formula One, and Dan Gurney gave Porsche (Rouen 1962) and his own AAR Eagle (Spa 1967) their only Formula One wins.

        Moss, however, also shared Vanwall’s first win with Tony Brooks at Silverstone in 1957, so I guess that gives him two and a half.

        Remind me of any others!

  4. And now it’s time for f*rtis to write his “why is everyone against lewis” rant.

    But great read hippo. Glad to have you back, ranting. 3 hours well spend

  5. Good stuff Danilo, enjoyed that immensely.

    I’m not Sebs biggest fan, but I’ve been very impressed with how he’s carried himself this season.

    In fact, I’d be glad to see him win again this year as a just reward – just no finger Seb, please!!

    • Really? Are we talking about the same Seb who made those comments about F1 being s^%t, because they took away his toys from him? The same Seb who when he was told yo let Ric pass in China replied by asking which tyres Ric was on and then saying good luck? (And please don’t tell me he let him past, because he didn’t, he made an error going into T1) The same Seb who has been mitching and moaning since testing began?….

      ‘In fact, I’d be glad to see him win again this year as a just reward’

      Yea, maybe when both Mercedes and Ric are parked up on the side of the track, sure he’ll get his win then.

      It’s so funny, last season all the talk was….will Lewis be able to adapt his aggressive driving style to the new rules and so forth, we’re 11 races into the championship already and who would’ve thought that it would be the reigning 4 times WDC who’d be struggling to adapt to the changes and an Aussie who’s not willing to be his sidekick.

      • For someone, who gets so upset when someone says anything less than Hallelujah about Lewis that you revert to hurl obscenities at other users, you’re all to eager to slag off other people’s favourite drivers. You do the math…

        • By the way, you have never once seen me slag off someone based on the driver they support.

          And given that my comments still has to past through the Judge’s filter system, says all that needs to be said, I did not hurl any abuse at anyone, just merely pointed out the misgivings of your favourite driver this season.

  6. Great rant, Mr. Potamus. I was hooked from “I got zapped, shat my pants and blacked out our house.”!
    Should be required reading for newcomers to the site….

      • There’s no back doors with him alright Joe. I both admire and respect the lack of bull(hippo?)poop.

        Don’t always agree, but always makes me think and reconsider my position. Not many can do that, but Danilo can.

  7. “And then there is the third offence of being stupid enough to say: “Umm, I actually think the bloke who won the last four world championships isn’t quite that bad.”

    That, apparently, is the equivalent of walking into a kindergarten proclaiming that you have a habit of molesting children.”

    A self-apologetic bully, complaining of getting himself bullied.

    “There has been a recent upsurge in facile comment here at TJ13, some of it relates to our “heroes” – as Horner describes them. The result has been a slip in the level of respect which is the usual standard here at TJ13. If we don’t like a driver… fine… but that’s no reason be abusive about him/her… as the level of debate spirals into the gutter.”

    Not only that, but also a moralizing bully. Now that’s a whole new Hippo species..

      • And what you wrote is a perfect description of what you do: bullying people for a living.

        The Fat Hippo, my arse; more like Jabba the Bully.

        • I would appreciate if you took whatever beef you have with me to a different part of the Kindergarten. You behave literally like that moron on the internet forums. You come here, hurl abuse and negativity at other people and bugger off again with little to contribute to the actual discussion. That’s not the sort of audience this site is meant for. You’ll be happier at f1fanatic or the BBC comment section.

  8. Vettel has impressed this year with his attitude; he’s taken the bad in stride, honestly been happy for and congratulated his team mate, and IMHO earned great respect for his good humor in the face of adversity. He’s shown real style.

    • I agree, Vettel’s attitude has been impressive. I’m not a fan of his, I can’t quite appreciate him that way. However, if he carries on improving quietly, I shall enjoy paying more attention to him, race by race. I imagine other non fans are similarly newly attentive. Which is hearty, if not epicurean, wine and vittles for the team and sponsors. Meanwhile, he’s providing (I hope this will transpire) a excellent dark horse in the second part of the season. That’s the kind of entertainment I most enjoy. It’s only a few years, after all. I can see how a couple of seasons of hard, quiet man, fight brought on the track by SebV could completely change my mind about him. Being strong and quiet might be the best way to win over new fans, especially those who just disliked his dominance for that reason alone. If you could have choreographed it, for remodeling his image…. hmmm.. I’ve had almost a blind spot watching, not really seeing the track where he is, until about Germany. Suddenly his car is there again, for my vision, on the replays. Had he been making a song and dance about his travails, or whining about the car, my attitude would be entirely different. I am happiest when I know my opinion can be changed about a driver, because then I watch most intently.

  9. Mr Hippo.

    Your article is extremely well written. You have my envy despite the fact I disagree with every sentiment.

    The bit I disagree with the most is the comparing it to Alonso not having won a lot. Alonso has creamed team mates in the past. He is 267 points ahead of the ‘might’ (lol) Kimi and only lost by one point to the great Lewis Hamilton. Has Vettel had a decent teammate to match up against? Well maybe this year and he’s not doing to great.

    • Alonso had his fair share of lacklustre races. He was beaten by Massa! Just remember the last quarter of 2012 or the Monaco GP last year. He was shokingly ordinary in that. What I meant to say is that you cannot declare a driver a wash-out after a couple bad races. Lewis is no washout and his 2011 campaign was shockingly bad. They all have their ups and downs.

      • Not sure Lewis’ 2011 was “shockingly” bad. Definitely it was his worst season, though he did score 3 wins (two great ones in China and at the Nurburgring that year, going around the outside of Alonso – through turn 2 – for the lead in that last one), the same number as Button, and had the only non-RBR pole that season. In terms of two-car finishes, it finished dead-even at 7-7 between Lewis and Jenson that year.

        Compared to Vettel’s 2014 season so far (0-2 in wins, 1-6 in two-car finishes), it looks pretty good. After 11 rounds in 2011, Lewis had 146 pts, lying 3rd in the table. He finished with 227 pts. Even with the double-points bonus in the last race, Vettel will have to finish 3rd in every race from here to the end, with a couple of 2nd place finishes thrown in, in order to beat that points total.

        Vettel didn’t just forget how to drive, but he’s having a hard time this year. As Marko said during the Austrian GP, Vettel was still trying to bring the car to heel, to do what he wants, instead of adapting himself to the car, as Ricciardo has done.

      • ” What I meant to say is …”

        Whoa! Replying to a comment by going back and clarifying part of the original post, paraphrasing or otherwise endeavouring to politely make a point… Is this the real Fat Hippo or has he been abducted by Scarlett Johannsen?? lol…

        well done!

  10. ^
    Great rant, Hippo. Enjoyed it much. Thank you.

    You can count me in as a Vettel admirer, too.

    Obviously, the blown diffuser was a big factor but there are others, too.

    Driving’s all in the head and he hasn’t forgotten how to do it.

    I strongly suspect he’s been very deeply affected by what has befallen his friend, tutor and Race of Champions partner, Michael Schumacher. He’s lost his mentor, his hero and advisor. It would not be surprising if his motivation, his sense of purpose and his outlook on life generally are not as clear as they were.

    You have to remember that Vettel had gone way past the goals of the others out there, struggling for a Drivers World Championship: he is the youngest champion ever and won four of them on the bounce. That has to affect anyone’s sense of perspective and reset their values

    Leaving all his contemporaries behind, Vettel was embarked on something far greater: the all-time statistics and the Himalayan targets set by Michael.

    And now he looks at Michael lying on a hospital bed, rendered comatose by hitting a rock while skiing. That’s a hard one to process through the logic and emotional systems. What help are all Michael’s achievements to him now – apart from the money to keep him alive?

    He has some big things to ponder about life itself. The day that Michael Schumacher fell changed Sebastian Vettel’s life, too.

    Look closely and you can see it in his eyes.

    • He has some big things to ponder about life itself. The day that Michael Schumacher fell changed Sebastian Vettel’s life, too.
      Look closely and you can see it in his eyes.


      From over here in ‘murica, I try to look closely and pierce his soul remotely, via his eyes, fixated on the TV screen like all the rest of y’all, and all I see in return is an uninspiring, vacuous, 1000-yard stare…

      Are you sure that Dr. Marko hasn’t actually lobotomized Seb on behalf of Red Bull?

      • I don’t know about what can be seen in Vettel’s eyes, but when my mentor and business partner succumbed suddenly, I reckon I spent the next couple of years being a grade A a*** hole. To a few, it was patently obvious, what I was experiencing, and to those few I mostly behaved myself. But I know I was a dismissive, short fused, prick, when not in a deep malaise. My mind went off into places I still don’t understand very well. I’d grown up knowing my friend, and close working relationships of any kind can be absolutely intense, even when, whilst they are working, you may feel absolutely free and unrestricted.

        I think The Silk has a very good point.

        That dele part of the mind which top athletes and those operating in the zone or semi conscious ways, might well be affected by processing a whole other set of problems.

        I took nearly a decade to stop thinking, consciously, “what would Dave do?”, by reflex, a continuous part of my thinking, and I believe that, subconsciously, that question is hard wired into me.

        • Respect to you for the sharing of some detail & insight into what sounds like a deeply personal moment/period of your life…

          I think The Silk has a very good point.

          Yeah, I’m not denying the possibility of that scenario at all – just poking fun at the idea that any of us can know what’s going on in SebVet’s head by what we see on TV during any one of 19-20 weekends per year (even if watching in HD).

          As fans we project a lot onto our heroes and it affects how we interpret what we think we see, when in reality, none of us w/o access to SV personally can presume to know what he’s thinking, or why he isn’t going well if not for the reasons that he and/or his team have articulated (if any).

          It would be disconcerting if Vettel’s on-track ability really has been degraded by what befell Schumacher. As a professional competing at the highest level of his sport, it’s assumed he should be able to filter out whatever feelings he might have in response to that tragedy.

          I choose to believe that Vettel is underperforming for a variety of factors, including inadequacies of his “power unit” (lol) and difficulty adapting to some aspect of the car requiring a driving style that Young Daniel has manifested more readily & consistently.

          But Silk may very well be right, and Vettel hiding the truth from all those but a few who are adept at scrutinizing his eyes and can see signs they perceive as a result of their own experiences. I’ve never been a fan of Vettel before this season, and have always supported Lewis, but I find Seb less threatening and suffocating now, and hope he, too, gets to win a race this season.

          • Wouldn’t think its disconcerting at all Joe, but more natural. I know that we expect our sports stars to be almost robotic in their focus on the prize, but after such a huge tragedy to befall a friend I’d reckon you’d need to be sociopathic to not be affected at all.

            He’s also got a little kiddie now, and that had a massive impact on me when my little legend decided to show his face.

            Combine the two and you’re probably looking at the potential for the loss of a few tenths due to F1 priorities not been of the level they were previously.

          • @Colin – fair points.

            I keep forgetting Vettel has a kid – or even a woman – as he never talks about ’em and keeps the media away from his private life.

            Is he the only top-driver whose family/partner isn’t appearing at one time or another on the telly during GP weekends? Hmmm…

            Alonso – hot Russian model, right?
            Jenson – Jessica
            Felipe – wife & lil’ Felipe
            Lewis – Pussycat Nicole
            Nico – wife
            Kimi – ex-wife; current partner
            Sutil – not a top driver, but still has had a blonde w/ him, no?
            Hulk – ?
            Perez – ?
            Bottas – ?
            Young Daniel – ?
            SebVet – noooo…

  11. Nobody just ‘lucks’ into a WDC, not even Button or Massa. So 4 times is 4 times. Which is good.

    Unfortunately we have to deduct the finger from his 4 WDC. So that’s minus 10 there.

    It’s difficult to choose between Hamilton and Vettel for Champion who made me cringe most.

    There’s the problem.

    Ps. good one, Fat One!

  12. I think you’ll find Dan Gurney also took Brabham’s first win, as well as Porsche and his own Eagle team…

  13. Without the snark this post could be whittled down to four paragraphs – but is missing one HUGE fact – as it is with people who pine for a driver like he was their long, lost, lover, this cherry-picking occurs often enough that reading anything written by them becomes an uncomfortable moment. The fact? The Formula One division of Red Bull employs a whopping EIGHT HUNDRED people to derive two cars; RB has, by far, the largest F1 work force and by far is the biggest spender in F1. Viewed soberly in this context, if they did not regularly produce championships, cries of conspiracy against them would be warranted.

    However, facts that might help explain the reasons for Red Bull’s F1 success aside, the graphs:

    1) Though Seb’s finger was kissed and caressed, the truth remains that Sebastian Vettel won ZERO championships in Formula series cars that raced during the same weekends and at the same tracks at F1 cars (“Wait, Vettel won 18 of 20 races in Formula —————— BMW!” Ummm, whatever).

    2) Vettel was designated the #1 driver at Red Bull. Adrian Newey (without chronicling Newey’s penchant for rule-breaking, errrr, rule “bending”) designed a car that fit, specifically, Sebastian Vettel and not at all #2 driver Mark Webber. Such is life, though, in the F1 paddocks; tough luck for Mark. And though Mark Webber is going down in today’s history-challenged world as a singular failure, #1 driver vs. #2 driver favoritism has been the modus operandi of F1 teams for at least five decades. But who cares about history?! History only serves to ruin a good fairy tale, right?!

    3) The Seb Vettel-inspired RB incarnations of 2010-2013 were demonstrably better than their competitors; the competition said so (they, previous owners, and knowing and honest journalist also said Red Bull cheated and showed on more than one occasion exactly one what points of a track where the cheats manifested themselves, as well as told the limited ways in which the cheats could be achieved. But as with paragraph two, a full historical treatment of Newey’s Red Bull cars would get in the way of myth-making.

    4) Vettel has done most of his overt whining this season while driving; an insufferable jerk with an undo sense of privilege NEVER changes his or her stripes. Post-race Vettel appears understated, only to those who want to believe their eyes and ears are lying to them. He has complained aplenty. Vettel has tossed his team under the bus. He has downplayed Ricciardo’s success by always reminding an interviewer that his cars have failed; it’s still never Seb’s fault.

    Vettel’s post-race and weeks between races jibes at other drivers and teams were largely overlooked the first three years he won championships He was perceived as the precocious, young driving genius. The kid with the boyish good looks, obvious intelligence and quick wit. He was Euro, metrosexual cool, after all, and a marketer’s dream. However, the act wore thin during year four. It particularly wore thin because he’d won so much yet still appeared ungracious for the winning, and, when anything that was said about his attitude was deemed by him to be an untoward slight, Vettel made it a point to publicly pule about it. And when you stand high above the fray on the podium after a race and take a verbal dump on the fans who watched the race, you’ll find the welcome mat burnt the next few times you and your billion-dollar baby vehicles roll up in their shiny million dollar semis for another inevitable win —- or petulant tirade.

    I’ll add a 5th layer/set of paragraphs…

    And, of course for me, the 5th has to do with the mention – not-so-slick or subtle mention of Lewis Hamilton in the post and mentions of him in comments, relative to and outstanding of, Vettel.

    I do wonder if Hamilton’s near championship as a ROOKIE 2007 and then championship his second season – 2008 – will ever be properly contextualized. Could we break out the list of modern drivers – 1982 forward – who accomplished this feat? And can we do it without claiming that somehow Hamilton’s car was so much better than that of the competition that it somehow drove itself; can 2008 be written without making the fact that he won by one point into a negative? Can his 2007 season be written LAUDING the fact that Hamilton, a ROOKIE, finished just one point behind Kimi Räikkönen?! Can it be said that, unless this season exceeds those two, that these were, so far and by far to date, the two most exciting F1 seasons of the 21st century?!

    Perhaps not.

    Maybe Hamilton’s 2011 season is far more important, relevant, or exciting to delve into. Perhaps it’s easier to pretend a poor, Black British kid who became an F1 world champion has somehow, always been a spoiled baby. Perhaps its makes people feel better about themselves to call into question Hamilton’s “psyche” (though any psychologist will tell you the psyche is virtually unreachable even through decades of psychoanalysis), or call him weak-minded (which F1 champion was ever called weak minded? And am I immediately disqualified from making a valid point because I mention the name, Mika Häkkinen, and his statements about people who are not F1 drivers cannot understand how mentally difficult it is to win an F1 championship?).

    Or, because there is such a preponderance of information available to at least approach a real understanding of Hamilton, his rise to F1 and his F1 career so far, perhaps there is an effort – conscious or not – to NOT want to properly contextualize Lewis Hamilton’s career.

    After all, it isn’t history that matters, it’s who is controlling the telling of history that matters.

    • “…Though Seb’s finger was kissed and caressed, the truth remains that Sebastian Vettel won ZERO championships in Formula series cars that raced during the same weekends and at the same tracks at F1 cars (“Wait, Vettel won 18 of 20 races in Formula —————— BMW!” Ummm, whatever).”

      Hmmm…wasn’t it Alonso who just recently said, “I’d rather have won four Formula 1 World Drivers Championships than 18 of 20 races in Formula BMW.”?


      lol. I’m just kidding, dude. But if you’re going to write & post something that long, just send it to the Court reporter as an op/ed-rant for publication!

      –Team Lewis

      • I thought that was a perfectly cogent rant by dwill, and in the context of a comment on a lengthy editorial rant, perfectly fine in length. I doubt it could have been shorter and not break apart logically. It was sufficient to remind me of the complaining SebV has moaned, off and on track, though I still hold that he’s done well to not distract me with complaining, and kept it down, mostly, especially considering his relative results to Riccardo.

        Aside, is the combined STR + RBR headcount at 800 for real, or is that including contractors?

        I disagree with dwill, on a technicality, that failure of a abundantly staffed organization does not causally justify conspiracy theory validation. Big, bloated, organizations fail all the time.

        • Im informally recruiting (ineffectively) for the Judge’s Chambers by haranguing posters of substance to consider trying to turn their gigantic comments into stand-alone op/ed reader rant(s)…lol!

          • Excellent effort…. I am consistently asking people to write…. All Op/Ed pieces welcome ( though subject to the editors reed ink )

        • Good to see you commenting here John (other John). You’ve certainly written some long ones elsewhere!!!

    • Yo @DWil, baby, I delivered an article re: Hamilton, dedicated to you (and fortis), to the TJ team last week. Any day now. Don’t worry, your driver will get his day on the sun. 😀

      • Hopefully a pro-Lewis article, and not a rant? lol.

        as an aside, it is pretty neat that the readership here is capable of producing content good enough to feature in the main postings.

        Most F1 fanatic sites’ comments are sh!t.

          • Actually Joe, I think you’ll be, as will the readership here, surprised.

            Excellent! Consider my curiosity piqued!

            I ‘be been told that it’s scheduled as a 2-parter starting on Saturday.

            All the better, then! I like multi-part chronicles as they extend the potential discussion over several days, or at least they provide time for an abused star’s fans to regroup and marshal reinforcements b4 counter-attacking! 😉 lol…

      • Haha, I’m sure it will be fair and balanced. That’s “fair and balanced”, in the Fox News sense of the phrase.

    • Yo @DWil, baby, I delivered an article re: Hamilton, dedicated to you (and f0rt!s, to the TJ team last week. Any day now. Don’t worry, your driver will get his day on the sun. 😀

      • Unless you’ve been following a different blog, he has been getting his day in the sun everyday. After all, you can’t seem to go a day without making some reference to him followed by your usual “😄”.

        You’re an attention seeker mate, and I’ve not got the time or patience to entertain you or the nonsense that you’re so dying for everyone to read.

    • Pt 1: infantile and flaccid.

      So too is that applicable to Mansell, Hill, Jones and at a stretch Raikkonen. Among others. But in Vet’s case, he was fast tracked because he was so good, Hamilton was forced to remain in feeder series because they were not so sure. 😀

      Anyway, I stopped reading after pt1. I was surprised to we that yet again you trying to word-smith and rework something that is a blatant lie into some credible stat that is wrapped up by a bunch of text, that only serves to help you flex your intellectual muscles, which really only speaks to your poor mindset.

      Pathetic really.

      I hope anyone you write for, which I doubt you so outside extremist manuals, cross checks your facts with fervour.

      • Still I Surprise, I thought it stretched, also, as a piece. But is that not the form one expects? I think you pretty much get what you reasonably expect from these essayist effluvia, and they’re not at all bad, if you take them for what they are. At least, I take them to be better informed entertainment. We may argue about the better informed bit, but that’s the entertainment, also. I’m all for letting rip, if the fine line, clear of adhominem or atavism and combative controversy, can be confidently drawn.

    • Is the ‘rookie status’ overdone? Sure, it was the most impressive debut speed for 80 years, being only 0.2 from the ultimate pace, as the best are usually 0.5 from the ultimate pace at full debut, e.g. Clark, Prost, Schumacher: http://grandprixratings.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/can-rookies-be-recognised-by-their.html.

      But, I think Ricciardo’s emergence at a top 2 team is similar, only he is 3 years older than Hamilton, and had some time in the backmarker ranks first, like Alonso. Hamilton was 3 years older than Vettel at debut, but also moved to cars a little later and wasn’t as fast-tracked, same for Daniel.

      PS. If Hamilton was fast-tracked and did debut in mid-2006 (instead of de la Rosa, like Vettel in mid-2007 for Kubica/Bourdais), then he would probably have been more off the pace, perhaps 0.7, like inexperienced 1984 Senna, or 2007 Vettel, before refining himself moving forward, as he did with one of the most intensive preparations ever, along with Seb’s.

      He’d have probably snagged a podium or two, like de la Rosa managed at Hungary in 2006, in a McLaren only 3rd or 4th fastest, possibly taking it to Jenson there for the win, given his wet weather speed. I feel an article coming on…

      • ID, what’s your ultimate contention? That DR is less spectacular than Hamilton or less spectacular than Vettel – or both?

        Bourdais…I remember that guy. Kind of an undignified stint in F1, no? …and now he doesn’t even seem that competitive in IndyCars, at least not relative to Montoya (who has way more poles – and points – than him) or Hunter-Reay, who’s won 3x as many IndyCar races this season than Bourdais.

        4x Champ_Car champ and now he hasn’t even managed to lead 100 laps in an IndyCar season in 2014 (98 only – can you believe it?).

        “Champ Car Champ to IndyCar Chump via F1 – the Sebastian Bourdais Story”

  14. ~ ‘ […]outing myself as someone who thinks Suzie Wolff is actually more than just a PR gimmick[…]’

    this, and just this shows that you actually no clue of what you’re talking about whatsoever.


      • FH I actually rather like that you fess up to some Suzie love. It will be impossible for her to ever overcome the picture painted of her by the general media and cultural narrative. If she does well in testing, the car was rigged. If things go sideways, see she’s not up to the job. The twin deficit of attractive woman + rich husband (shareholder no less) will always doom her to this, sadly enough, rather than evaluating her on her merits. I have hope for Simona, though, ATM Sauber is not the place to be. Mayhap Ferrari will show with a better PU for 2015 and they can get back to the midfield race in earnest.

  15. @ Fat Hippo “Vettel spent five years perfecting a driving style that to a conventional racing driver was completely bonkers.”
    Yes, I agree he mastered that style of driving and that the Red Bull was designed around him. However, it is disingenuous of you to suggest his current lack of form is almost entirely due to that. Doesn’t he drive anything but Formula1 cars? I am sure he is quite capable of driving a normal road car, in which case he has all the skills required to drive a current Formula1 car.
    Apart from that it was another excellent and humorous rant. 🙂

    • mike, me lad. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t drive his road car like his hair’s on fire. I’m sure, he still knows that he needs to push the ‘make it stop’ pedal for the bendy bits 😉
      The Newey RB’s where a bit understeer-ish due to their massive rear downforce, while the RB10 is very obviously oversteery – that’s a radical difference, while Danny has driven an oversteering car all his F1 career. 🙂

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