Sebastian Vettel, born on the 3rd July 1987 in Heppenhiem, Germany, is one the most impressive up and coming F1 drivers of recent times. Described as being very British for a German, he enjoys TV shows such as Little Britain, The League of Gentleman & Monty Python. He is a very caring, happy and open young driver, which has made him very popular in F1 circles, not to mention amongst the fans of F1.
Debut & BMW Sauber (2007)
He made his F1 debut at the 2007 US Grand Prix, driving for Robert Kubica who had injured himself in a horrific crash at the previous Canadian Grand Prix. Vettel managed to score a single point in his BMW Sauber, becoming the youngest ever point scorer in F1’s history.
Although he had to give the seat back to Kubica at the next race, he continued to act as BMW Sauber’s test driver, which is where he started his F1 career the year before. His participation in Friday practice at the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix earned him the record of being the youngest person ever to take part in a Grand Prix meeting at the age of 19 years and 53 days.
Toro Rosso (2007-2008)
Vettel’s big break through came when he replaced Toro Rosso’s under-performing driver Scott Speed at the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix. An impressive drive at the Japanese Grand Prix, which he briefly lead, as well as a 4th place finish at the Chinese Grand Prix, was enough to retain his seat at Toro Rosso for the rest of the season and sign his first full season deal to drive at Toro Rosso for 2008. Although the start of the 2008 season was a rather difficult one (4 DNF’s out of 4 starts), Vettel came through to have impressive points scoring finishes in Monaco, Canada, Germany and Europe.
His greatest achievement was yet to come. At the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, Vettel shocked all when he took not only the Pole position, but also the race win. Making him the youngest ever man to win a Grand Prix in the history of F1. This catapulted him into F1 stardom, making him one of the best up and coming races on the grid. With the announcement that Red Bull’s David Coulthard was to retire at the end of the 2008 season, Vettel was confirmed at the 2008 German Grand Prix to be Coulthard’s replacement at Red Bull for 2009.
Red Bull (2009-Present)
2009 proved just why he is a future World Champion in waiting. A bad start was put right with a Pole to flag victory at the 2009 Chinese GP. It was Red Bull Racing’s maiden win in F1 and Vettel’s second of his career. He would take a further 3 victories in 2009, at the British, Japanese & Abu Dhabi GP’s, as well as podium finishes in Bahrain, Turkey, Germany and Belgium.
Sebastian led the Red Bull Championship challenge against Brawn’s Jenson Button, however inconsistent and poor results would lead to his eventual defeat at the Brazilian GP. It was clear that Vettel had a superior car, but these mistakes and poor races cost him any real shot at title glory. A collision with Kubica at the season’s opener in Australia after running a solid 2nd saw him DNF as well as a crash in Monaco are examples of this.
Nevertheless Vettel finished the season runner up in only his second full season in F1. With 84 points, 4 victories, 4 Pole Positions and 8 podiums, it still had the feeling of ‘what if’. He will remain with Red Bull for 2010 and he must be hoping to go one step further and take the title.
Turkish Grand Prix Practice: Youngest man ever to take part in a Grand Prix meeting – 19 yrs, 53 days
US Grand Prix: Youngest person ever to score a point at a Grand Prix event – 19 yrs, 11 months, 14 days
Japanese Grand Prix: Youngest person ever to lead a Grand Prix – 20 yrs, 2 months, 27 days
Italian Grand Prix:Youngest person ever to claim Pole position – 21 years, 72 days
Italian Grand Prix:Youngest person ever to win a Grand Prix – 21 yrs, 73 days