Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vettel destined for glory from the first day he walked into F1

ABU DHABI: Sebastian Vettel’s career trajectory has always been sensational and had the youngest ever world champion hurtling to glory from the first day he walked into Formula One and began to break the sport’s records.
In the wake of youthful Spaniard Fernando Alonso’s impact as the young title-grabbing successor to the old “red baron” German Michael Schumacher, Vettel created a whole new set of youthful standards.
He was the youngest participant in Formula One, at 19 years and 53 days, with Sauber in Turkey in 2006, the sixth youngest race-starter in 2007 in the United States and, in the same race, the youngest man to score points.
Bull power: Sebastian Vettel wearing a bull mask as he celebrates with his team after being crowned the 2010 Formula One world champion at the Yas Marina racetrack in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. — AP
In 2007, in Japan, he was the youngest race-leader and in 2008, in Italy, at a rain-hit Monza, he became the youngest pole-sitter and then youngest race winner.
That result for Toro Rosso triggered a move to Red Bull for 2009 when he almost landed the drivers’ title, but ultimately had to settle for runner-up behind Briton Jenson Button.
It was his first major setback and disappointment – and he was only 22.
His Red Bull team-mate Australian Mark Webber did not even enter For­­mula One, with the underfunded back-marking Minardi team, until he was 25.
So it was no surprise when, against the odds on Sunday, he became the sport’s youngest champion, usurping 2008 champion Briton Lewis Hamilton by nine months.
Born in Heppenheim on July 3, 1987, Vettel adored what he later described as “the three Michaels” while at school – Schumacher, Jackson and Jordan, the first being the man whose achievements he would love to emulate.
Originally, he said, he wanted to be a singer like Jackson, but discovered he did not have the voice and, after starting in karting in 1995, found another road to success.
Vettel, whose father Norbert was a carpenter who raced in hill-climbs, has one brother and two older sisters and comes from a family with English connections that encouraged him as a boy to learn the language and grow to understand and enjoy British humour and music.
He loves The Beatles and can reel off jokes from Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers as well as Little Britain. His wit, and an ability to crack a funny line, endeared him to much of the media at an early age.
“I am still listening to the same music as always,” he said recently. “But, you know, unfortunately, The Beatles have not released much new stuff.”
If life and languages came easy to him, he made the most of it, just as he did in a racing career that saw him rise rapidly through karts and junior formulae, where he was nurtured by the Red Bull juniors training scheme.
He entered F1 with the BMW Sauber team, after running in the BMW juniors, and swiftly made an impact before switching to join the Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso outfit, securing his first full-time seat with them in 2008. His racing in the rain, always impressive, dazzled that year at Monza when a new F1 star was born.
The rest was, swiftly, to become history as he cut a swathe towards the top, his one-liners, cheeky grin and brilliant driving earning him soubriquets like ‘the baby-faced assassin” and the ‘new Schumi’ even if moments of impetuosity punctuated the success story.
Having raced for the Swiss Sauber team, it was no surprise that Vettel chose to take up residence in Switzerland. — AFP

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