It’s no secret that Sebastian idolised Michael Schumacher as a child, manifested by posters on the wall and the dream to emulate his hero by becoming world champion himself one day.
And yet, the current German Ferrari driver has yet to secure a title for the Scuderia.
Ferrari’s long time test driver Marc Gene since 2004 has worked with Schumacher and Vettel for two years and made comments about both drivers in Barcelona during the GP.
“Vettel’s approach reminds me in many respects of Schumacher, it’s not a coincidence that he’s several times world champion”
“Like many others, they have a lot of talent but they’re so hard on themselves. Often talented drivers are at risk of being the most lazy compared to everyone else, but they [Seb & Michael] always strive for perfection, very impressive, ” he explains. “Sebastian is the driver in the paddock that works the longest.” concludes the Ferrari test driver.
Gene emphasises that there are also differences between Vettel and Schumacher. For example, he is of the opinion that Vettel is “somehow a little Italian”. In other words, more outgoing, passionate but prone to saying precisely what’s on his mind regardless of the consequences.
Perhaps no greater example of both of these traits working together happened back in 2013 – A moment of Sebastian painting a portrait of Teutonic diligent hard work in the past but revealing a degree of arrogance within his personality.
During Singapore 2013, at the height of Red Bull dominance, Sebastian quipped how he thought the reason for his dominance was due to “a lot of people hanging their balls in the pool on Fridays” whilst referring to the competition.
Vettel later claimed his comments were not at attack on rival drivers or teams, but Rosberg said: “Sebastian brings the boos on himself. He talks about my balls that I hang in the pool and then the boos come. My guys are working hard day and night. He couldn’t know if his boys work harder. We give it full throttle. His comments are aloof and were almost his undoing qualifying [in Singapore].”
“I almost stole pole from him and if I had I would have laughed. Sebastian should think less about my balls and more about himself. With comments like that he is running the risk of losing the respect of his fellow drivers.”
Vettel certainly can put out the noses of his fellow racers prompting Jenson Button to comment that “It’s incorrect and wrong of [Vettel] to say that. We are obviously not doing a good enough job to beat Red Bull and no one is at the moment but that doesn’t mean we are not working hard. Every team is working as hard as Red Bull.”.
It must be said Vettel’s famous finger has pointed blame towards his own team (Ferrari) over the radio in previous seasons too. Countermanding strategy decisions openly during the Mexican GP last year is one such example.
Perhaps the obvious difference between Michael Schumacher is not necessarily the passion, but the way it’s manifested. Vettel does appear ‘more Italian’ than Michael, but then it could be argued that Michael saved his passion for the track… But that’s a different history lesson.