I’m not sure how to describe how special Sebastian Vettel is. Vettel is probably one of, if not the main reason why I am a Formula 1 fan. It all began when I started visiting the Bahrain Grand Prix and watching the races live. In 2012, I remember watching Vettel storm to victory right in front of my eyes. But the races I will never forget are the 2017 and 2018 Bahrain Grands Prix. Those were the races that truly brought me into the world of Formula 1, and it was thanks to Sebastian Vettel. In both of those races, Vettel displayed his skills and strength as a Formula 1 driver. And seeing him on the top step of the podium wearing those iconic Ferrari colors made me a fan of him forever.
But I created this post not just because Vettel was my favorite driver, but because he had one of the most illustrious Formula 1 careers in history. 53 Grand Prix wins. 122 podiums. 299 race starts. 57 pole positions. And of course, 4 World Championships. As one of the greatest to grace the race track retired, I decided to make a tribute to Sebastian Vettel as a winter project. It’s a historic post for a man who will forever be regarded as an F1 legend. This post will begin with some of his iconic moments in Formula 1. We’ll then move onto the Days of Domination, where we go through his most dominant races. And last is one of the most important aspects of this post. It’s a Thank You to Sebastian Vettel, a driver that’s done so much for F1 and for people all over the world.
Sebastian Vettel Iconic Moments
4-Time World Champion
It’s safe to say that very few F1 moments can claim to be more iconic and cold as this one. This image will stand as one of the coldest pictures in F1 history, and it represents one of the most significant moments of F1 history. As we’ll see later in this post, Sebastian Vettel won his 4th world title at the 2013 Indian GP. He sealed the title in his most dominant season in Formula 1, with the Indian GP being the 6th win in Vettel’s 9-win streak that he achieved in the 2nd half of the 2013 F1 season. Later in the post I’ll elaborate on his performance in this race.
But prior to the race, calculations confirmed that if Vettel finished 5th of higher, he would be a 4-time World Champion. Well, Vettel definitely did more than finish 5th! He took the race win and secured the title in style. After winning the race, he performed donuts on the track in celebration. And after those burnouts came the iconic image; Sebastian Vettel bowed down in front of his car, giving the world a truly iconic moment to remember Vettel’s triumph.
Double Overtake At The Pitlane Entrance
This slick overtake shows how witty Sebastian Vettel can be behind the wheel. At the 2016 Chinese GP, Vettel was making a comeback. The reason behind Vettel needing a comeback, as I will talk about later in the post, were Daniil Kvyat’s Lap 1 antics. During the race, Vettel came in for a pitstop behind a couple of slower cars. The cars were going slowly in the pitlane, which is where Vettel saw an opportunity to gain some places. He knew that the regular track ends at the pit entry line, meaning overtaking is allowed before that line. Knowing that the cars ahead were going slow, Vettel grabbed the chance and made a skillful move to gain 2 places at the pit entry.
Daniil Kvyat became the “torpedo” that hit Vettel multiple times at the 2016 Chinese GP. At the race start, as the drivers navigated the tricky opening corners, Kvyat dived down the inside, going for a small gap that Vettel had left as they approached Turn 2. However, Vettel had to swerve to avoid Kvyat and ended up hitting his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Both the Ferraris’ races were compromised, but luckily they could continue racing. Raikkonen had to pit at the end of Lap 1, and Vettel capitalized on an early Safety Car to pit onto a fresh set of tires.
Sebastian Vettel overtook Kvyat on the way to 2nd place to complete a strong comeback drive. Kvyat finished 3rd, meaning both drivers finished on the podium. It is before the podium ceremony that the “Torpedo” moment took place. The podium finishers were in the cooldown room when Vettel made that remark, to which Kvyat replied “Bro it’s racing.” Kvyat’s cool reply is almost as iconic as the torpedo nickname! Unfortunately for Vettel, this wasn’t the only time Kvyat would torpedo him. At the 2016 Russian GP, Kvyat hit Vettel in the rear coming into Turn 2, and then hit him in the rear again at Turn 3! The contact at Turn 3 left Vettel spinning and crashing into the barrier, forcing Vettel to retire. That’s when Kvyat very clearly Torpedoed Vettel!
2019 Canadian GP
Another iconic picture of Sebastian Vettel from the 2019 season! This one actually came from earlier in the season, from the Canadian Grand Prix. So what lead to Vettel changing the Parc ferme position boards? Vettel qualified on pole position, and stayed in P1 after getting a good start to the race. For the first 40 laps of 70-lap race, Vettel wasn’t under any real pressure for the lead of the race. But after that, Hamilton start closing in on him. And on Lap 48, the terrible moment happened. At the chicane of Turns 3 and 4, Vettel lost control of the rear end of the car mid-chicane, causing him to go off the track and onto the grass. But that wasn’t the problem. Vettel actually retained the lead.
The problem was that when he rejoined the track, Lewis Hamilton had to slam on the brakes and got squeezed towards the wall. Hamilton complained lightly on the radio, Mercedes reported it, and BOOM! Vettel gets a 5-second penalty for rejoining the track dangerously and forcing another drive off the track. I agreed with Vettel’s argument against the penalty. Vettel said that he couldn’t have avoided rejoining in that way because after going on the grass he had limited control of the car. But the stewards believed that his driving was dangerous, so they awarded him a penalty. Vettel found out on Lap 58, giving him 12 laps to pull out a 5-second gap to Hamilton.
Unfortunately, Vettel’s gap only shrunk, and Hamilton won the race, despite Vettel crossing the line first. Vettel was clearly furious; he said on the radio that the race had been stolen from him. After the race ended, he parked his car somewhere else in the pitlane instead of in Parc ferme. In front of the spot where his car would’ve been was the board for 2nd place. He swapped that board for Lewis Hamilton’s first-place board, sending a clear message to the world that he believed he should’ve won that race.
2019 German GP Comeback
As you will see later in the post, the 2018 German GP was one of Vettel’s strongest races up until he crashed out. Vettel faced heartbreak that affected his performance in the rest of the season after a slip-up in changing weather saw him lose the race win at his home race. A year later, at the 2019 German GP, it looked like luck was once again not on Vettel’s side. Vettel faced engine issues in qualifying that left him starting the race dead last. The race saw tricky wet conditions, which is why Vettel thrived. He displayed that incredible skill in the wet that he had displayed in his very first race win. In the first 2 laps, he got up to P12.
During the rest of the race, Vettel kept his cool under changing conditions left many drivers spinning or into the barriers, including both the Mercedes cars, and Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc. Vettel made no such mistakes. In a combination of calm, controlled driving, and some slick overtaking, Vettel made his way up to P2 by the end of the 2019 German GP. I’ll never forget this race, and I’m sure Vettel won’t as well – it was the last German GP he drove in his career.
2019 Singapore GP
The 2019 Singapore GP is synonymous with Sebastian Vettel. It’s the Formula 1 legend’s last race win, and as he celebrated the victory, he famously lifted the steering wheel of his Ferrari SF90. That gave us this iconic picture of Vettel proudly holding the wheel in the air, with his cheering Ferrari teammates and the bright red fireworks in the background.
As his Ferrari engineer said, Vettel is the Lion of Singapore. This win in Singapore marked his 5th win in the nation – the most wins any driver has achieved in Singapore. It’s also in the Top 25 for the most wins at a single circuit achieved by a driver. Given that Vettel had a tough year in 2019 and hadn’t won a single race, when he won in Singapore, he had finally claimed a well-deserved race win in 2019. This race will always hold a special place in my heart, as I’m sure it will for Ferrari and Vettel fans.
“Here Comes Sebastian Vettel!”
“Here Comes Sebastian Vettel!” is a line millions will never forget. It’s a sentence synonymous with Sebastian Vettel. David Croft, known as Crofty, is one of the commentators in F1, and back in 2018, he was one of the commentators as well. This iconic line originated with Crofty saying it as Sebastian Vettel zoomed past Lewis Hamilton to take the lead of the 2018 Belgian GP on the opening lap of the race. That move proved to be crucial, as Vettel went on to win that race. At the 2022 Abu Dhabi GP, during Sebastian Vettel’s final race, Crofty snuck in the iconic phrase when Vettel made an overtake on Pierre Gasly. It reinforced the F1 world’s love for Crofty’s commentary and Sebastian Vettel’s overtaking.
Press Conference Pranks and Jokes
Prank on Nico Rosberg
This Press Conference Prank is simply priceless. In the front row, on the far left is Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel is in the middle, and Michael Schumacher is sitting on the far right. Nico Rosberg started answering a question when Michael Schumacher whispered something to Vettel. Vettel then moved Rosberg’s mic forward so that it was touching his lips! Rosberg continued talking as laughs scattered across the media room before he moved his mic backwards. This prank is definitely one of Sebastian Vettel’s most iconic moments.
“Gentlemen, a short view back to the past”
This press conference question is a classic! A journalist started his question with the sentence “Gentlemen, a short view back to the past…” as he began what seemed to be more of a short story rather than a question. The German journalist, Walter Koster, asked Vettel and Rosberg about how complicated Formula 1 cars have become.
He wanted to know if they thought that the technology should go back to being more simple in Formula 1. But when he completed the question, someone asked to who the question was addressed. Vettel said that it was addressed to Rosberg and himself. He then proceeded to savy “You didn’t listen.”, turned to Koster, and said, “Can you repeat the question?” The media room erupted in laughter!
Confetti Cannon for Alonso’s B’day
During a Thursday press conference ahead of the 2021 Hungarian GP, Vettel set off a confetti cannon to wish Fernando Alonso a happy birthday on his 40th! Unfortunately, Vettel popped the confetti cannon in the wrong direction, spreading confetti on himself and on the floor instead of on Alonso. It was a kind and fun gesture which went hilariously wrong! Watch a video of the moment here.
Iconic Radio Moments
“You Have Won The Italian Grand Prix”
The 2008 Italian GP is a race that’s etched into the history books of Formula 1. Sebastian Vettel achieved his first-ever race win in F1. He also set the record for being the youngest-ever driver to win an F1 race by winning at the age of 21 years, 2 months and 11 days. However, Max Verstappen beat that record at the 2016 Spanish GP by winning at the age of 18; a record that might never be broken.
Sebastian Vettel began his era in Formula 1 with a stunning race win in the wet weather. He displayed incredible skill by winning a wet-weather race in a midfield car. He started the race in pole position, with the race starting on the safety car. When the safety car came into the pit lane and the real racing began, Vettel displayed dominance and control that exceeded his age and experience. More details of his performance will come later in this post, under the section about his best races. This race is iconic because it marked Toro Rosso’s first race win, and it was a race win at their home track. Toro Rosso, a small, Italian team from Faenza that was barely a midfield team saw their young prodigy on the top step of the podium. Toro Rosso relived that as AlphaTauri when Pierre Gasly won the 2020 Italian GP!
“Du Bist Weltmeister”
The inspiration for the title of this post. The radio message that resonates through the entire world when mentioning Sebastian Vettel. I don’t think there’s a Vettel radio message more iconic than this. When Vettel crossed the line, it wasn’t confirmed whether he had won the championship. His engineer Guillaume Rocquelin was announcing the finishing order to him, because if Alonso finished P5, then Vettel wouldn’t have been champion. However, Alonso finished in P7 behind Vitaly Petrov, meaning Sebastian Vettel was indeed the Weltmeister. “Du Bist Weltmeister”. It’s a line the world will always remember.
Martin Brundle described Vettel’s radio messages as “writing an audio book about blue flag procedures” at the 2016 Japanese GP. Vettel was leading the race and wanted to get ahead of the lapped cars. However, he believed that the blue flags weren’t coming on quick enough. He believed the slower cars were not getting out of the way quick enough. Blue flag procedures refer to a blue flag being shown to cars being lapped by the leader or the cars on the same lap as the leader. Vettel wanted the lapped cars to get out of his way. He said that he “lost a second for nothing” due to poor execution of the blue flag procedures. Those radio messages were funny enough, but thanks to someone on YouTube, the “blue flag” radio moment turned into a viral song, which you can listen to here.
“That’s a podium man!”
Sebastian Vettel exclaimed “That’s a podium man!”, along with laughs and chuckles in celebration of his first podium since the 2020 Turkish GP and since he joined Aston Martin. At the 2021 Azerbaijan GP, Vettel scored the last podium of his career.
He deserved that podium because he was FLYING in that Aston Martin. He had a terrible qualifying when he missed out on Q3 by 0.029 seconds. But when the race came around, nobody could match Vettel’s pace. By Lap 11, Vettel was up in P5 and maintaining his pace, although he was this high up the order due to other cars pitting. And then came the golden laps. By Lap 13, everyone except for Vettel had already made their first pitstop. That means Vettel was in the lead of the race! This was a huge event because that was the first time Vettel lead a race since the 2019 Brazilian GP!
Vettel continued his stint on the soft tires till Lap 18, which was an INCREDIBLY long stint for the soft tires in this race. And Vettel managed his tires in such a brilliant way that he was going faster than some of his rivals while making sure the tires didn’t puncture. It takes a huge amount of skill to do that. So when Vettel came out of the pits, he came out in around P6. Vettel had done an overcut on Norris and Tsunoda. The overcut already proved itself when Sergio Perez came out of the pits on Lap 14 ahead of Hamilton, despite being behind the Mercedes before the pitstops.
Before Verstappen crashed out of the race, Vettel was in P4. Then he got promoted to P3, and then to P2 when Hamilton made that mistake and ended up finishing behind Mazepin at the end of the race. That allowed Vettel to claim a well-deserved podium, finishing P2 behind Sergio Perez.
“I’m going to touch Hamilton’s rear wing”
Last year, I ranked this moment as the funniest moment of F1 in 2021. I found this joke really funny and perfectly timed. Seb has been known for making dad jokes, but this joke was genuinely hilarious. To give you guys context, this radio message from Vettel was at the 2021 Brazil GP. After qualifying, Verstappen touched and examined Hamilton’s rear wing. He didn’t move any parts of the front wing, which is why he got away with a fine. But a €50,000 fine made it pretty clear that that’s not allowed!
And after the Sprint race, Vettel went on the radio and joked ‘I’m going to touch Hamilton’s rear wing’. Obviously, his engineer said something along the lines of ‘No way’ which is when Vettel said ‘I’ll try the front wing, maybe it’s 25 grand’. This joke was really funny to me, and it was very memorable to me, and it would be for those who understand what happened at the Brazil GP and how tense it actually was between Verstappen and Hamilton. That radio message just keeps cracking me up!
Sebastian Vettel’s Days of Domination
2008 Italian GP
The 2008 Italian Grand Prix was not only one of Vettel’s most iconic races, but it was one of his strongest. As I mentioned earlier, he displayed skill and control beyond his age. The race conditions were very slippery and wet due to the rain, which is difficult for any driver. But for a driver who was in his rookie season, the feats that Vettel pulled off were incredible. First of all, he secured pole position in a tricky wet qualifying session. Vettel’s teammate Sebastian Bordais qualified in 4th, making Toro Rosso’s qualifying performance more than exceptional. Bordais faced mechanical issues come race day. For Vettel, however, it was smooth sailing.
Fans and the Torro Rosso team were both tensed as they saw Vettel leading the race. The treacherous conditions combined with his lack of experience meant that people were sure something would go wrong. An Italian midfield car from a small team in Faenza winning the Italian Grand Prix was too good to be true. Until it actually became true. Despite the fact that Vettel could’ve crashed out of the race at any instant in those conditions, he won the 2008 Italian GP ahead of Heikki Kovaleinen in the McLaren. He beat race-winning drivers who were in race-winning cars to win in Italy. Sebastian Vettel’s 2008 Italian GP performance remains one of his strongest, despite his illustrious career.
2010 Abu Dhabi GP
This race is special to me. As a Vettel fan, it was just incredibly looking back at this race and how Vettel clinched the title against all odds.Vettel was 15 points behind Alonso in the championship coming into the race. He was in 3rd, with his teammate Mark Webber being in 2nd. Vettel started the race in pole position and maintained his lead off the start. The Safety Car was deployed on the opening lap as Michael Schumacher faced a scary and incredibly dangerous crash where he spun, and then got hit by a car from the front. Since this was 8 years before the halo was introduced, Schumacher could’ve suffered serious head injuries.
On Lap 25, Vettel came out of the pits and nearly hit Kobayashi. It was risky, but he got away unscathed. If he had come out behind Kobayashi and the Renault behind, Vettel could’ve lost the championship. He could’ve faced the very problem that cost Alonso the championship – getting stuck behind a Renault! In 2009, in his first year with Red Bull, Vettel had a shot at the title but lost it due to making too many mistakes. With mistakes once again in 2010, it looked like he’d fumbled the bag again. However, his pure speed and skill prevailed as he rose above the more experienced competition to storm to his first world title at the 2010 Abu Dhabi GP.
2011 Australian GP
The 2011 Formula 1 season was undeniably one of Sebastian Vettel’s most dominant seasons in F1. The only season which can trump that is the 2013 season, when Vettel won 9 races in a row. Vettel started off the year by winning the 2011 Australian GP by a country mile. He showed that he was clearly the fastest man on track in qualifying. He gained pole position by 8 tenths of a second. Vettel maintained the lead at the start and obtained a 2-second gap in the first lap itself. Vettel led almost all of the race, except for 3 laps that Hamilton led because Vettel pitted earlier and used an undercut to gain time over Hamilton.
Towards the end of the race, Hamilton went off-track at Turn 1, which damaged his undertray. That secured the race win for Vettel, who went on to win with a gap of over 22 seconds. It was a strong race to start off an incredibly strong season for Vettel.
After a difficult and win-less 2014 season, Vettel left Red Bull to pursue more championships at Scuderia Ferrari. The team that he had defeated to win 4 championships was now the team where he would try to win more championships! It’s safe to say that Vettel started off his Ferrari campaign strongly. He scored a podium in the opening race of the season, but it was in Round 2 when glory came. Vettel bested both of the Mercedes drivers to win the 2015 Malaysian GP.
2011 Indian GP
Sebastian Vettel began India’s 3-year stint of Formula 1 in style! India is a nation where Sebastian Vettel thrived, being the only driver to win there. And it all began with the 2011 Indian GP. This was the very first of the 4 Grand Slams Sebastian Vettel achieved in Formula 1. In F1, a Grand Slam is when a driver qualifies on pole position, wins the race, leads every lap of the race, and secures the fastest lap. Only Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Jackie Stewart have 4 Grand Slams, and only 4 drivers have more Grand Slams than Vettel. And securing this first Grand Slam was one of Vettel’s first steps towards sealing his name in Formula 1’s history books forever.
By the time the 2011 Indian GP came around, Vettel was already 2011’s World Champion. But that didn’t stop him from taking the Formula 1 world by storm. In fact, it was the last time in 2011 that Vettel would claim the top step of the podium. He qualified in pole position, and retained a good gap to Button in P2 throughout the race. And then at the end of the race, he came home to finish comfortably ahead of Button. The final lap of the race is when Vettel secured the fastest lap, after going faster than his teammate Mark Webber had gone the lap before. This race had a real sense of closure and finality for the 2011 season. It was Vettel’s last win, and it was a Grand Slam, with the last lap being the fastest lap of the race. Perfect.
2012 Brazilian GP
The 2012 Brazilian GP will forever be one of the most iconic races in F1 history. Sebastian Vettel came into the season finale just 13 points clear of Fernando Alonso. Qualifying had gone fairly well – Vettel started in 4th, with Alonso in 8th. However, come race day, things went really bad really fast. Vettel’s start was disastrous. Alonso jumped up to 4th, while Vettel fell down to 7th. At Turn 4, while defending from cars behind, Vettel turned in on Senna, sending himself into a spin. He also made contact with other cars, but luckily got away with any major damage. The defending champion found himself in dead last. And remember, in 2012, dead last was P24.
A few cars retired from the race, helping Vettel to get up to P20. After that, he was absolutely flying. By Lap 6, he was up to P12 after making numerous overtakes at corners such as T4, T8 and Turn 10. He gained a place on that lap thanks to a crash, and when the racing resumed after the yellow flag, he started gaining places. On Lap 8, Vettel got up into P6. However, on Lap 10 he had to pit for inters, sending him back down to P18. The comeback would then start again. He came out of the pits on Lap 11. By Lap 16, he had overtaken Kobayashi for P5. Vettel was indisputably the fastest man on track.
However, after a bad safety car restart and multiple pitstops, Vettel found himself outside the Top 10 again. This time, the comeback would be much harder, with drivers pitting and much larger gaps to the cars ahead. With 55 of the 71 laps gone, Vettel had a lot of ground to cover. Alonso was in 2nd place, meaning Vettel needed to finish in P7 to win the title. He would also only win by a single point. In the next few laps, Vettel made overtakes and capitalized on other drivers’ pitstops to gain positions. By Lap 58, he was up into P7. And then on Lap 64, the iconic moment happened. Michael Schumacher gave way to Vettel so he could take P6 and win the championship by 3 points. It was incredibly narrow, with the race being hugely chaotic and simply unforgettable.
2012 Japanese GP
The 2012 Japanese GP saw Vettel claim his 2nd career Grand Slam. This race was towards the end of the season – only 5 races were left in 2012 after this. This race was the 2nd win in a 5-win streak that launched Vettel to the top of the standings, which eventually saw Vettel win the championship. In qualifying, Vettel was the only driver to achieve a lap time under 1 minute and 31 seconds. He got a strong start to the race as his championship rivals spun behind him.
On the penultimate lap of the race, he destroyed the previous fastest lap by nearly 9 tenths of a second. He then came home to finish the race over 20 seconds ahead of 2nd-placed Felipe Massa, with home hero Kamui Kobayashi finishing in 3rd. After the race, Vettel was still in 2nd in the championship standings. However, he was only 4 points off Alonso, whose championship lead slipped through his fingers in the following races.
2013 Singapore GP
The 2013 Singapore GP is one of the 13 victories Sebastian Vettel claimed in 2013. It’s also one of the astonishing 5 victories he claimed in Singapore. However, this was the only Grand Slam of those 5 wins in Singapore. A Grand Slam in Formula 1 is when a driver qualifies on pole position, wins the race, leads every lap of the race, and secures the fastest lap. This was the 3rd of the 4 Grand Slams Vettel achieved in his career, and Vettel made it clear here that he was the King of Singapore. The Singapore GP was late in the season, but Vettel hadn’t secured his 4th World Title just yet. Prior to this race, Vettel was only 53 points ahead of Alonso, which isn’t a huge gap in comparison to the margin he won the championship by. However, this race was crucial.
It allowed Vettel to steam ahead to secure his 4th title. As I mentioned earlier, he secured pole position. He wasn’t on pole by the biggest of margins; Nico Rosberg was close behind. But Vettel didn’t begin showing his speed around Marina Bay in qualifying. He finished first in FP2 and FP3 as well, and then secured pole position. That would’ve been a huge confidence boost. Vettel amassed a lead of over 30 seconds before the Safety Car, and then pulled out the same gap after the SC. He then pitted for a fresh set of tires, which he used to finish over 35 seconds ahead of Alonso. It was incredible. Vettel had complete control of the race, and no one could challenge him. The closest anyone else got to the lead was when Rosberg got Vettel into Turn 1. But Vettel switchbacked him to maintain the lead.
2013 Korean GP
The 2013 Korean GP was the last Grand Slam of Sebastian Vettel’s career in Formula 1. This Grand Slam was hugely history one, because Vettel proved he was one of the greatest drivers of all time. He achieved consecutive Grand Slams. 2 in a row. The 2013 Singapore GP, followed by this race. It was incredible. Only Alberto Ascari and Jim Clark, two Formula 1 legend who many will be familiar with, had done this before. And next on that list, Sebastian Vettel.
This Grand Slam wasn’t quite as dominant as in Singapore. However, Vettel clearly showed that his rivals were nowhere near him. Fernando Alonso, his closest championship rival finished P7. Vettel topped FP3 and then qualified on pole by a good 0.2 seconds. And then during the race, the cars behind battled as the Lotus drivers battled for the podium. Vettel finished with a comfortable gap of over 4 seconds, and secured the fastest lap in the last couple of laps of the race. He also led every lap, which is why he claimed the Grand Slam. It was the last Korean GP to be held as of now; Vettel has certainly left his legacy on that race track.
2013 Indian GP
It’s time to learn about the story behind this cold image. Sebastian Vettel won his 4th and final world title at the 2013 Indian GP. He sealed the title in his most dominant season in Formula 1, with the Indian GP being the 6th win in Vettel’s 9-win streak that he achieved in the 2nd half of the 2013 F1 season. Prior to the race, calculations confirmed that if Vettel finished 5th of higher, he would be a 4-time World Champion. He took the world by storm and won the 3rd Indian GP in the row, meaning so far, he’s the only winner in Indian GP history.
Vettel started the race on pole position, and built a 4-second gap before he came into the pits for a surprise pitstop on Lap 2. He dropped to P17, but the strategy proved to have worked somewhat, because by Lap 13, Vettel was up to P4. Many other drivers had followed suit and pitted. After passing Ricciardo, he got Perez on Lap 21. He was now in 2nd behind his teammate Mark Webber. However, Vettel got past Webber when Webber was in the pits – looks like Red Bull’s strategy had worked better than expected.
Later in the race, Webber retired due to an alternator issue, and Red Bull were worried that Vettel may face the same problem. They told him not to go for the fastest lap, saying that they were facing “enough problems as it is”. Thankfully, their worries ended as Vettel crossed the checkered flag to become a 4-time World Champion. And I’m very glad that Vettel could claim the title in India, a country where I hope Formula 1 will return in the future.
2015 Malaysian GP
Vettel started the race in P2, and maintained that position at the start. However, he gained the lead of the race when the Mercs pitted during an early Safety Car. Vettel staying out gave him the on-track advantage. When he had to pit, he came out behind the Mercs, but was much faster on fresh tires. When Vettel caught Hamilton, Hamilton went straight into the pits. The commentators said that it was no contest, and they were right. Vettel managed his tires and made sure he was in the right position at all times to have a shot at winning. And when the checkered flag fell, Vettel was far ahead. He had used a combination of speed, tire management, and a strong strategy. That last one is something that Ferrari lacks today!
2018 Bahrain GP
The 2018 Bahrain GP was a display of strength and smarts from Sebastian Vettel. He started the race in pole position, and was comfortably the fastest man on the track. Ferrari put him on a two-stop strategy for the race. However, on Lap 36 of 57, Raikkonen had a famous pitstop incident. An issue with the wheel gun resulted in Raikkonen leaving the pit box early and accidentally running over a Ferrari mechanic’s leg. It was a horrible incident, as the mechanic, whose name was Francesco Cigarini, suffered multiple fractures.
The scary incident also affected Vettel’s race. Vettel had already made 1 pitstop by then, but couldn’t come in for another soon because emergency medical treatment was being provided to Cigarini. it would’ve been difficult for Vettel to pull off a 2-stop to counter Bottas’ one-stop, because there weren’t enough laps left. That’s why Ferrari switched the strategy, leaving Vettel to stay out for a one-stop strategy. However, he was on softs, which were tires not suited for the gargantuan 39 lap-stint that Vettel would need to pull off to finish the race.
That’s exactly what Vettel did; he pulled it off and won the race! He was on heavily worn tires, which left him very susceptible to being overtaken by Bottas towards the end of the race. Bottas got incredibly close to overtaking Vettel. But Vettel held it together, and brought the car across the finish line in first place. Bottas was only 0.7 seconds behind, when the race ended; I remember the cheering along with the crowd as Vettel won the 2018 Bahrain GP in a valiant display.
2018 German GP – Honorable Mention
The 2018 German GP is a famously painful race for Sebastian Vettel and his fans. The fact that Lewis Hamilton went on to win that race was like rubbing salt in the wound. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Sebastian Vettel was in control of this race until that crash. In qualifying, Sebastian Vettel stormed to pole position, with a margin of 2 tenths of a second to Bottas in 2nd. Vettel set a new track record with his lap time of 1:11.212. That’s not the race lap record, however.
And come race day, Vettel was looking confident out on track. He got a strong start, and was cruising out in front. That’s what makes it so heartbreaking. Vettel was on course for a comfortable win when he crashed out on Lap 51/67. Since rain had began, the track was becoming more slippery. That, combined with a relatively tricky corner, is what caught Vettel out. However, I still believe this is one of his most dominant and strongest races because of the dominance he showed in qualifying and the race prior to his crash.
2018 Belgian GP
The 2018 Belgian GP was the last time Vettel would successfully beat Lewis Hamilton in 2018. It was his last race win before the iconic 2019 Singapore GP, making it the 2nd-last win of his career. Despite Hamilton taking pole position by a large margin, Vettel used his pace where it mattered the most; on race day. He got a good start and capitalized on slipstream to make on of, if not the most special overtake of his career. Vettel used the momentum from Eau Rouge and Radillion to power past Lewis Hamilton down the Kemmel Straight. This overtake was accompanied by the “Here Comes Sebastian Vettel commentary line. I’m sure this holds a special place in all F1 fans’ hearts. After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing for Vettel, bar an overtake attempt from Hamilton on the Safety Car restart.
I would like to end this post by thanking Seb. He is inspiring and is a role model to the world. Some of the things that Vettel has done during his career in Formula 1 even beyond the track have been extraordinary. Especially in recent years, Vettel never failed to show his kindness and go above and beyond to fight for what’s right. Vettel was never afraid to speak out. He was committed to kindness and to sportsmanship, becoming friends with Lewis Hamilton, who used to be his bitter rival.
Vettel became known for speaking out and against racism and fighting for diversity and LGBTQ+ rights alongside Lewis Hamilton. He was never afraid to wear a t-shirt or speak out before or after races to campaign for these issues. Vettel is also incredibly environmentally conscious. He spoke about internal conflict as F1 contributed to the very climate crisis Vettel was trying to help fight. In fact, in his final race in F1, Vettel ran a special helmet. In that helmet, fans could bit to have their picture on the helmet, with all of the profits going to the environmental projects he had started. Incredible.
Another important moment was when Vettel helped clean up the grandstands after the 2021 British Grand Prix. He spoke in an interview about how when he was visiting the Aston Martin factory, he saw litter on the road, which inspired him to clean up the stands after the race. It was fantastic seeing an F1 driver doing something so unexpected that contributes to society and sends a crucial message. And lastly, I would like to share a fan story that I saw. Take a look at the Instagram post below. It perfectly shows what a fantastic person Vettel is. Thank you, I hope you enjoyed this post, and I wish Vettel the best in retirement!