Sebastian Vettel, the four-time Formula One champion, has come to the defence of Max Verstappen, insisting that the Red Bull driver deserves more recognition for his performances. Vettel emphasised that Verstappen’s achievements should not be overshadowed by Red Bull’s dominance in the sport.
Those who have followed the sport of Formula 1 for some years, may find such remarks ironic, when Sebastian Vettel’s period of dominance with the same dominant team between 2010 and 2013 was called into question at the time. Was it the driver, or the magical Adrian Newey designed wonder cars?
Vettel dominance with Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel’s dominance of Formula One with Red Bull Racing was nothing short of extraordinary. From 2010 to 2013, Vettel and Red Bull formed an unstoppable force, rewriting the record books and leaving an undeniable impact on the sport.
Vettel’s reign of dominance began in 2010 when he won his first world championship. At just 23, he became the youngest ever Formula One champion, a record previously held by Lewis Hamilton. Vettel’s remarkable achievement was a testament to his prodigious talent, tactical acumen and the superiority of the Red Bull cars designed by F1 Guru, Adrian Newey.
Red Bull unstoppable
The following year, Vettel took his performance to another level, delivering a season that would go down in F1 history. With 11 wins from 19 races, he secured his second successive world championship with a commanding lead. Vettel’s remarkable consistency, combined with his blistering pace, left his rivals struggling to keep up. Sound familiar?
In 2012, Vettel faced an even greater challenge as rivals sought to dethrone him. Despite a fierce battle with the likes of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, Vettel emerged triumphant, winning his third consecutive world championship. His ability to get the most out of the car, particularly in qualifying, set him apart from his rivals.
The pinnacle of Vettel’s dominance came in 2013 when he secured his fourth consecutive World Championship, becoming only the fourth driver in history to achieve this feat. Vettel’s dominance was unparalleled that season, winning 13 of the 19 races and equalling Michael Schumacher’s record for the most consecutive wins in a single season. His skill, focus and composure under pressure cemented his status as one of the sport’s great champions.
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Verstappen carries on the Red Bull legacy
Verstappen has been in exceptional form this season, on course for a third consecutive Drivers’ title with a commanding 99-point lead over his teammate Sergio Perez. With eight victories out of the first ten races, Verstappen has showcased his talent and consistency, setting new records along the way.
Despite his outstanding performances, some critics have downplayed Verstappen’s achievements, attributing them solely to Red Bull’s dominance rather than his individual skill.
Vettel defends Verstappens’ dominance
Vettel was quick to dismiss these claims and defend Verstappen’s talent.
“You have to give him credit; he is performing fantastic. He is incredibly talented and makes no mistakes,” Vettel stated during a media session at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Vettel pointed out that leading the pack is not an easy feat, and the perception of dominance can undermine the challenges faced by drivers like Verstappen. He drew comparisons to other dominant eras in Formula One, mentioning the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, and himself, who all faced their own difficulties despite their success.
“As soon as you drive at the front because you are doing well, people are quick to say that it is boring and that you win ‘easily.’
“But there is much more at play than just lap times. I’m sure Lewis Hamilton never had it easy during his dominant years, just as, for example, Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen and myself never had it easy.
“It is an incredible achievement to conceive and build a car that can beat the competition in every race weekend. The fact that Red Bull does well every weekend is due to perfection, consistency, and the qualities of the team,” Vettel explained.
Record breaking wins for 2023?
Red Bull’s dominance has sparked speculation that they could become the first team in Formula One history to win every race in a season. Vettel acknowledged the possibility but stressed the importance of reliability and surviving the challenges of each race.
“While the chance is definitely there with this car, reliability should never let the team down, no crazy things should happen, and they have to survive all the first laps,” Vettel said.
He highlighted McLaren’s close attempt in 1988 and concluded that anything is possible, but time will tell if Red Bull can achieve this historic feat.
“With this car, that chance is definitely there,” said Vettel.
“Reliability should never let the team down, no crazy things should happen and they have to survive all the first laps.
“No team has ever managed to do it, although McLaren was close in 1988. So anything is possible, but we can only wait and see.”