F1 Onboard - 2006 BMW Sauber - Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel going out for FP1 in a rainy Suzuka 2006, in his BMW Sauber. Enjoy.


Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel at an early age


Sebastian Vettel - BMW Sauber
Sebastian Vettel - BMW Sauber


Sebastian Vettel - BMW Sauber
Sebastian Vettel - BMW Sauber




Sebastian Vettel ( born 3 July 1987) is a professional German Formula One racing driver, currently driving for the Austrian racing team Red Bull Racing. He is the current World Champion, having won the championship in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. He is among the most dominant and successful F1 drivers of all time and is considered as one of the greatest in the sport.

In his first year driving for Red Bull in 2009, Vettel finished the season as the youngest-ever World Drivers' championship runner-up. The following year he went on to become the youngest driver ever to win the World Drivers' Championship. In the same year he helped Red Bull win the team's first World Constructors' Championship. He followed up his first championship with a second in 2011, becoming the youngest double world champion in the history of the sport, as well as a third in 2012 and a fourth in 2013 to become the sport's youngest triple and quadruple champion, respectively.

Vettel holds or held numerous other "youngest" Formula One records, among them: the youngest driver to have taken part in an official practice session of a Grand Prix, to score championship points (beaten by Daniil Kvyat in 2014), to lead a race, to secure pole position, and to win a race. He is also currently third in the overall tally of pole positions behind fellow German Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.


Vettel was born in Heppenheim, then West Germany, to Norbert and Heike Vettel. He has one younger brother, Fabian, and two older sisters: Melanie, a dental technician, and Stefanie, a physiotherapist for disabled children. Vettel suggested in an interview that he was terrible at school, but earned his Abitur at the Starkenburg Gymnasium high school in Heppenheim with a respectable grade. He has said that his childhood heroes were "The three Michaels" – Michael Schumacher, Michael Jordan, and Michael Jackson and mentioned that he wanted to be a singer like Michael Jackson, but realised that he could not as he did not have the voice. Vettel is also a fan of The Beatles, collecting several records, including Abbey Road and his favourite song being "Drive My Car". In an interview on Top Gear, Vettel stated that he was a fan of British comedy such as Little Britain and Monty Python's Life of Brian. Vettel lives in Thurgovia, Switzerland amongst other racing drivers and is a fan of German football team Eintracht Frankfurt. Vettel has described himself as competitive, private, and impatient. Vettel also appears in advertisements for Head & Shoulders. Vettel provided the voice of character Sebastian Schnell in the version of the movie Cars 2 dubbed for German-speaking audiences. Vettel is in a relationship with Hanna Prater, with whom he has been together since childhood. In January 2014, Vettel became father of his first daughter.


Vettel started amateur karting at the young age of 3½ and began racing in karts series in 1995, at the age of eight. Having shown early talent, he was accepted into the Red Bull Junior Team at age 11 in 1998, and kept on winning various titles, such as the Junior Monaco Kart Cup in 2001. In 2003, he was promoted to open-wheel cars and won the 2004 German Formula BMW Championship with 18 victories from 20 races.

In 2005 he drove for ASL Mucke Motorsport in the Formula 3 Euro Series. He was placed fifth in the final standings with 63 points, winning the year's top rookie honours. He tested the Williams FW27 Formula One automobile on 27 September as a reward for this Formula BMW success. He then went on to test for the BMW Sauber team.


Vettel demonstrating his Formula 3 Euro Series car in 2006
2006 became a busy year for the 18-year-old racing driver. He drove his second season in the F3 Euroseries, had two guest appearances in the Renault World Series and was promoted to test driver for Sauber in Formula One. A schedule that resulted in a competitive season with several victories, but ultimately no championships.

Vettel finished as runner-up in the 2006 F3 Euroseries, behind series leader and team mate Paul di Resta. He also made his debut in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Misano, winning after Pastor Maldonado was disqualified. At the next round at Spa-Francorchamps, however, his finger was almost sliced off by flying débris in an accident, and he was expected to be out of racing for several weeks. Nevertheless, he managed to compete in the Ultimate Masters of F3 at Zandvoort the following weekend, finishing in sixth place. He also set the third-fastest lap time, and it surprised his ASM team boss Frédéric Vasseur. Vasseur said: "I was impressed for sure, because at the beginning of the week I was sure he wouldn't race! But he showed good pace from the first practice session. I can't imagine he's 100 per cent but at least we know we can be competitive in the next F3 Euroseries round at the Nürburgring next weekend – that's important."

Vettel competed in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2007, and took his first win at the Nürburgring. He was leading the championship when he was called up to Formula One permanently. His seat was taken by Michael Ammermüller.


Vettel became BMW Sauber third driver at the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix, when former incumbent Robert Kubica was called up to replace Jacques Villeneuve for the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.

On his testing debut, Vettel set the fastest time in the second Friday Free Practice before the race. In his second testing session in the 2006 Italian Grand Prix, he set the fastest time in both Friday practice sessions, a race weekend in which all the BMW cars were quick, with his predecessor Robert Kubica finishing on the podium in the race.


Vettel was confirmed as BMW's test driver for 2007. Following the serious crash of regular BMW driver Kubica at the Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel substituted for him at the United States Grand Prix. He started in seventh position on the grid, finishing in eighth position to take his first World Championship point and became the youngest driver ever to score a point in Formula One (at the age of 19 years and 349 days), a record previously held by Jenson Button – who was 20 years and 67 days old when he finished sixth at the 2000 Brazilian Grand Prix.


On 31 July 2007, BMW released Vettel to join Red Bull's Scuderia Toro Rosso team, replacing Scott Speed as one of its drivers from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards. He earned approximately US$165,000 for finishing the season with Toro Rosso. Before the race, it was also announced that Vettel would drive for Toro Rosso in 2008, alongside Sébastien Bourdais.


Vettel driving the Toro Rosso STR2 at the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix
Vettel struggled for his first couple of races while cutting his teeth with his new team, but managed two impressive drives in his 5th and 6th drives for Toro Rosso, a team that was averaging a little worse than 14th place in the 2007 season before Vettel's arrival. In the rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, Vettel worked his way up to third, behind Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber, and seemed to be on course for not only his but also Toro Rosso's maiden podium finish. However, Vettel crashed into Webber under safety car conditions taking them both out of the race and prompting Webber to say to ITV reporter Louise Goodman "It's kids isn't it... kids with not enough experience – you do a good job and then they fuck it all up." Webber also specifically criticized Lewis Hamilton's erratic behaviour in contributing to the accident, describing his antics behind the safety car as "shit". Vettel was initially punished with a ten-place grid penalty for the following race, but this was lifted after a spectator video on YouTube showed the incident may have been caused by Hamilton's behaviour behind the safety car. Vettel bounced back to finish a career-best fourth a week later at the Chinese Grand Prix having started 17th on the grid while in mixed conditions. He collected five championship points, making it both his and Toro Rosso's best race result.

Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz stated his belief Vettel would be one of Formula One's big stars in the future. "Vettel is one of the young guys with extraordinary potential  He is fast, he is intelligent, and he is very interested in the technical side."


After four races of the 2008 season, Vettel was the only driver to have failed to finish a single race, having retired on the first lap in three of them. In each of these three instances, he was involved in accidents caused by other drivers, the other being an engine failure. However, at the fifth round at the Turkish Grand Prix, he finally saw the chequered flag, albeit finishing in 17th after qualifying 14th and suffering a puncture on the opening lap. In the next race at the Monaco Grand Prix, Vettel scored his first points of the season with a fifth place finish, after qualifying 17th. He scored again at the Canadian Grand Prix fighting off Heikki Kovalainen in the last few laps for the final championship point, having started from pit lane. Vettel finished 12th in France, before retiring on lap one at the wet British Grand Prix after being clipped by David Coulthard and aquaplaned into the gravel trap along with Coulthard. He earned another point at the German Grand Prix, fending off Fernando Alonso and securing eighth after Jarno Trulli ran wide. Vettel retired in Hungary after his engine overheated during his first pit stop. He impressed many at the European Grand Prix by setting the fastest times in the first practice session and second qualifying session, before qualifying sixth on the grid. Vettel finished the race in sixth, two seconds behind Jarno Trulli. Toro Rosso's technical director Giorgio Ascanelli explained said that something changed at the European Grand Prix in Valencia: "Suddenly Vettel understood something about how to drive an F1 car quickly. It made a huge difference – not only to the speed he could unlock, but also to his ability to do so consistently."


Vettel driving for Toro Rosso at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix
At the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, Vettel became the youngest driver in history to win a Formula One Grand Prix Aged 21 years and 74 days, Vettel broke the record set by Fernando Alonso at the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix by 317 days when he won in wet conditions at Monza. Vettel led for the majority of the Grand Prix and crossed the finish line 12.5 seconds ahead of McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen. It was the first podium and win for his Toro Rosso team. Earlier in the weekend, he had already become the youngest polesitter, after setting the fastest times in both Q2 and Q3 qualifying stages, and his win also gave him the record of youngest podium finisher. Toro Rosso team boss Gerhard Berger said, "As he proved today, he can win races, but he's going to win world championships. He's a cool guy". Hamilton praised the German, stating that this victory showed "how good he is"  The nature of the victory and the story of the 21-year-old's fledgling career led the German media to dub him "baby Schumi", although Vettel was quick to downplay the expectation the result had brought, particularly the comparison with the seven-time World Champion: "To compare me with Michael Schumacher is just a bit ridiculous... It will be difficult in normal conditions for us to repeat this achievement". He then went on to finish fifth in Singapore. In Japan, he finished sixth after being promoted from seventh after teammate Bourdais was penalised for contact with Felipe Massa.

In the Brazilian Grand Prix, after running as high as second in the race on a 3-stop strategy, Vettel overtook Lewis Hamilton in the rain for fifth place on the penultimate lap to contribute to a thrilling climax to the season. He nearly deprived the McLaren driver of the championship before Timo Glock slowed dramatically on the last lap (he was struggling with dry tyres in the ever increasing rain) enabling both Vettel and Hamilton to pass him, earning Hamilton the title, and Vettel fourth place.

After the season had finished Vettel was named Rookie of the Year at the Autosport Awards.


At the start of the 2009 season, Vettel replaced the retired David Coulthard at Red Bull Racing, and began strongly at the Australian Grand Prix, qualifying third and running in second for the majority of the race. However, a clash with Robert Kubica over second place on the third to last lap of the race forced both to retire. Vettel attempted to finish the race on three wheels behind the safety car to salvage some points, but eventually pulled off to the side. He thought that he would be able to attempt this because the yellow flag resulting from his incident forbids overtaking; instead he was given a ten-place grid penalty for the next race, the Malaysian Grand Prix, and his team was fined for instructing him to stay on track after the damage occurred. In Malaysia he qualified in third position, but was demoted down to 13th due to his ten-place grid drop. He spun out of the race while eighth, just before the race was stopped due to adverse weather conditions. However in China he went on to take pole position, the first for the Red Bull Racing team. He went on to win the race ahead of teammate Mark Webber, again a first for his team, which scored its first victory and one-two finish in the same race. At the age of 21 years and 287 days, Vettel became the youngest Grand Prix driver in history to win for two different teams, having won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix for the Toro Rosso team.

In the Bahrain Grand Prix, Vettel qualified in third, and finished second behind Jenson Button in the race. In Spain, he qualified in second but finished the race in fourth, behind his teammate Mark Webber who finished in third. Vettel won the British Grand Prix after claiming pole position in qualifying. At the German Grand Prix he qualified fourth and finished second, behind Webber, who won his first Grand Prix. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel qualified second after an eventful qualifying, but had to retire from the race on lap 30 after his car sustained damage from contact with Kimi Räikkönen's car on the first lap.


Vettel won the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix; as a result, he finished second in the Drivers' Championship.
At the European Grand Prix, he qualified fourth but had to retire from the race with an engine failure. It was the second engine failure for Vettel during the weekend, and the RB5's reliability issues began to show. He finished third at Spa-Francorchamps, and struggled for pace at Monza, finishing 8th at a race he previously won. He qualified 2nd at Singapore, but was given a drive-though penalty for speeding in the pit lane and damaged the diffuser on a kerb, struggling to 4th. He subsequently won the Japanese Grand Prix from pole position, leading every lap and only being denied of the fastest lap by 0.002 seconds by teammate Mark Webber, who did so on the final lap. He would have to wait until the 2011 Indian Grand Prix until he finally achieved a Grand Chelem.

At the Brazilian Grand Prix, Vettel qualified 16th in a rain-hit session, behind title rival Jenson Button (14th) and Rubens Barrichello (1st), while his teammate Webber qualified second with Adrian Sutil in third. Vettel needed to score at least second place in the race to keep his title hopes alive. He finished fourth with Button behind, giving Button the Championship and moving Vettel up into second place. He officially claimed second place by winning the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, again ahead of Webber with Button completing the podium. He also scored his third fastest lap of the year, drawing him level with teammate Webber. However, as Vettel had more second fastest laps, he won the 2009 DHL Fastest Lap Award.

See also: 2010 Formula One season
Vettel driving for Red Bull Racing at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix, where he took the first pole position of the season
Vettel continued with Red Bull for 2010, and took the first pole position of the season at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Vettel went on to lead most of the race but a spark-plug failure meant that his lap times slowed down, and as a result the two Ferraris and the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton passed him. After a brief challenge from Rosberg he brought the car home in fourth.

At the Australian Grand Prix, Vettel was appointed as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association. He took his second consecutive pole position in Australia, ahead of teammate Mark Webber, but spun off when leading the race, due to a loose wheel nut. In Malaysia, he took his first win of the 2010 season with Webber coming in second place, having passed both him and Nico Rosberg at turn one.

Vettel qualified on pole at China alongside Webber. At the start of the wet race Fernando Alonso jump-started and Vettel was passed by Webber, dropping back to third. The increasing rain forced Vettel and Webber to pit at the same time for intermediate tyres that wore out after only a few laps and dropped them back into the midfield. Vettel slowly climbed back up to finish sixth, ahead of Webber. In Spain, Vettel was outqualified by teammate Webber and claimed second on the grid. Despite having a major brake problem during the last eight laps, Vettel managed third place after Hamilton crashed on the penultimate lap.

In Monaco Vettel was again outqualified by Webber. In the race he passed Kubica at the start and stayed there for the remainder of the Grand Prix and made it a Red Bull 1–2. After the race the two Red Bull drivers were equal on points in the drivers' championship, with Webber championship leader based on total wins. At the Turkish Grand Prix he qualified third and was running second behind Webber when he made a passing move on the Australian. The two collided, putting Vettel out of the race and dropping him to fifth in the drivers' championship, with neither driver accepting responsibility for causing the collision. He finished fourth at the Canadian Grand Prix, maintaining his position in the standings. He started the European Grand Prix in pole position and led from start to finish to score his second win of the season.


Vettel won from pole position at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to take the World Drivers' Championship title.
At Silverstone, both Vettel and Webber's cars were fitted with a new design of front wing. Vettel's front wing was damaged in the third practice session, and Webber's sole surviving example was removed and given to Vettel. Vettel qualified in pole position ahead of his teammate, but suffered a puncture caused by driving wide off the track on the first lap of the race and fell to the tail of the field. He fought back to finish seventh while Webber took the victory. At the German Grand Prix he took pole by 0.002 seconds, and finished in third position in the race, behind the Ferraris of Alonso and Felipe Massa, after a poor start. He also finished third in Hungary after serving a drive-through penalty for exceeding ten lengths behind the previous car, teammate Webber, under neutralised safety car conditions. In Belgium, he had a tough race, hitting Button's car whilst attempting to pass, causing Button to retire. Vettel pitted and carried on, but then suffered a puncture whilst passing Liuzzi at the same place, completing a whole lap with a puncture. He eventually finished 15th, his lowest placing of the season (other than his retirements in Australia and Turkey). At Monza he finished fourth after an engine problem scare, and at the Singapore Grand Prix, Vettel qualified and finished second, sticking on Alonso's tail for most of the race. He passed Button for fourth place in the championship. At the Japanese Grand Prix, he dominated all practice sessions bar one, as it was postponed after heavy rain. He qualified on pole ahead of team mate Webber and went on to win with a lights-to-flag victory. Aged 23 years and 98 days, Vettel became the youngest Grand Prix driver to win at the same track on two occasions, having also won the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka in 2009. At the first Korean Grand Prix, Vettel took pole and led the first 45 laps of the race before retiring with engine failure, handing victory to Alonso.

At the Brazilian Grand Prix, Vettel qualified second but took the lead at the first corner and led for the entire race to victory. With Webber taking second place, and Alonso finishing third, Vettel went into the final race of the season with a 15-point deficit to Alonso, and a 7-point gap to Webber. With the one-two finish in Brazil, Vettel and Webber secured Red Bull Racing's first Formula One World Constructors' Championship. He won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from pole again, to take the drivers' championship lead for the first time in his career and became the youngest world champion in the sport's history. Following James Hunt in the 1976 season, this was also only the second time in Formula One history when the World Champion had not been cham



After the postponement of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Vettel started his title defence in style in the Australian Grand Prix with pole position and a victory of 22 seconds over title rival Lewis Hamilton, who was nursing home his broken McLaren. Vettel continued his title defence in the Malaysian Grand Prix, where he pipped Hamilton for pole position by a tenth of a second, and went on to win the race from Jenson Button. Vettel completed his third pole position of the season at the Chinese Grand Prix, and appeared to be in dominating form for the majority of the race. However, poor tyre management haunted him in the last several laps, possibly being related to his inability to properly communicate with his team, as his radio was broken. He finished the race second, his championship lead cut to 21 points (by Hamilton) after three races.

The Turkish Grand Prix started out poorly for Vettel, where he had very little practice time during the Friday free practice sessions, including a crash in the first session. Even with the limited practice, he claimed his fifth consecutive pole position and converted it into a win, extending his championship lead over Hamilton to 34 points. At the Spanish Grand Prix, his pole position streak ended as his KERS failed him during qualifying. His teammate Webber took pole, but Vettel went on to win the race by 0.6 seconds over Hamilton, with Hamilton chasing him down at the end on prime tyres, and Vettel having to deal with a frequently malfunctioning KERS. The following weekend, in the Monaco Grand Prix, he took pole with the second fastest qualifying time in Monaco's history. Vettel was leading the race with a 5-second gap over second-placed Button. Due to a radio malfunction, the Red Bull pit crew was not prepared for Vettel when he pitted. The net result was that the pitstop was slow, and that he was sent out on the wrong tyres, handing the lead to Button as well. Vettel switched to a one-stop strategy, and stuck with one set of soft tyres for 56 laps. He was caught by Alonso and Button as his tyres deteriorated, but neither were able to pass him. With a few laps remaining, the race was red-flagged after Vitaly Petrov required an ambulance after an accident. The suspended race allowed teams to change tyres and work on the cars, and when the race was restarted under the safety car, Vettel was able to retain the lead during the last few laps.


Vettel's win at the Monaco Grand Prix was his first win in the principality, and his fifth win from the first six races of the season.
In Canada, he took his sixth pole position in seven races ahead of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. Vettel kept his lead from the start of the race, and for the vast majority of the race he held on to it. The record six safety car periods due to the down-pouring rain and 2-hour race suspension profoundly hurt Vettel's chances of victory, however, as after every safety car restart, Vettel would lose the gap he had previously built up on the other drivers. With much fresher tyres, Button caught Vettel and began to pressure him in the last lap. Vettel slid on a damp part of the track at Turn 6, and Button used the opportunity to slip past him to take the victory. Vettel finished second, yet still extended his championship lead to 60 points ahead of Button.

At the European Grand Prix, the FIA began enforcing a controversial ban on engine mappings. It was believed by many in the press that this was an attempt by the FIA to thwart Vettel's domination of the season. The changes appeared to do little to hinder Vettel, as he took pole with the fastest qualifying lap in the track's history. He dominated the race with his first triple of 2011 with pole, fastest lap, and won his sixth race out of eight races. It was the first time in Formula One history where, in the first eight races, 1) a driver finished first in six or more races and 2) finished second or better in all 8 races.


Vettel took his ninth victory of the season at the Singapore Grand Prix after leading from lights to flag, leaving him within one point of his second World Championship.
The second set of controversial mid-season changes were implemented at Silverstone, targeting the blown diffusers. Red Bull believed the changes cost them about half a second per lap. Webber just edged Vettel for pole position by 0.032 seconds in qualifying. On race day, Vettel made a better start, immediately took the lead and led the first half of the race. A delay at one of his pit stops allowed Alonso to pass him in the pit lane and dropped Vettel back to third, behind Hamilton. Despite a malfunctioning KERS unit, he was able to jump Hamilton in the stops and held off the faster Webber, who ignored a radio message from team principal Christian Horner to hold position, for second place, extending his lead in the championship.

Vettel's run of fourteen successive front-row starts and eleven successive top two finishes ended at his home race, where he qualified third and finished fourth. McLaren's mechanical grip outclassed Red Bull in the wet in Hungary, and despite leading into the first corner from pole, he was quickly passed by both Hamilton and Button. Vettel eventually finished second in the race, held in mixed conditions. In Belgium, Vettel qualified on pole and won the race, his seventh victory of the season and seventeenth of his career. In victory, Vettel extended his lead in the championship to 92 points and, even with seven races left, his tally of 259 points surpassed his own record (from 2010) for the highest number of championship points accumulated in a season. At the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, he took his tenth pole position of the year – joining Ayrton Senna as the only drivers to have taken ten pole positions in two separate seasons – and the 25th of his career, and eventually won the race after passing Alonso, who had overtaken Vettel at the start. Vettel led every lap from pole position in Singapore, despite a safety car period eliminating a 22-second lead that he had held. His ninth win of the season left only Jenson Button in championship contention, who was 124 points behind with five races remaining.


Vettel at the Japanese Grand Prix, where with four races remaining in the season, he secured his place in history as the youngest double World Drivers' Champion.
Vettel arrived in Japan needing only a single championship point, tenth place, to secure his second championship. In qualifying, Vettel recorded his twelfth pole position of the season – his fifth in succession – edging Button by 0.009 seconds. In the race, Vettel held the lead until the second pit-stop phase, when Button used the undercut to get past. He remained second after a safety car restart, but because his tyres wore out not long after that, he slipped down to third behind Alonso. He tried to fight Alonso for the position, but after several unsuccessful passing attempts, his race engineer told him to hold position and defend his championship. This podium finish secured his second successive title with four races remaining, making him the youngest ever double World Champion and also the youngest back-to-back Champion, joining only eight other drivers who had won consecutive titles. In Korea, Vettel started second, but won the race – becoming the second driver to take at least ten wins in a season after Michael Schumacher – after overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the first lap, building a healthy gap for the rest of the race, and recording the fastest lap of the race on the final lap. He helped secure Red Bull's second successive Constructors' World Championship in the process. Vettel took his eleventh victory of the season in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, leading every lap from pole position, as well as setting the race's fastest lap on the final lap, despite Red Bull having detuned his engine in an effort not to risk the race victory.

At the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Vettel took his fourteenth pole position of 2011 to equal the record of poles in a season set by Nigel Mansell in 1992. Vettel had a good start to maintain the lead by the first corner, but at the second corner, a right rear puncture saw him go sliding off the track. He returned to the pits, but suspension damage forced his first retirement since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix. Vettel then broke the record for the most poles in a season at the next round, the season finale in Brazil. He maintained his lead into the first corner but was slowed by gearbox trouble early in the race. He allowed teammate Webber to pass him as his problem worsened, but eventually finished second ahead of Button to complete a 1–2 sweep for the team upon Webber's only victory of the year. Vettel completed the year with 15 poles, 11 victories, and 17 podiums from 19 races; he also earned a record total of 392 points in the process.


Vettel remained at Red Bull for the 2012 season, and was again partnered by Mark Webber. He scored a second place finish at the opening race of the season in Australia. Vettel started fifth in Malaysia, promoted from sixth after Kimi Räikkönen suffered a five-place grid penalty. Vettel spent the majority of the rain-affected race in fourth place, but picked a puncture from a collision with the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan on lap 47. He dropped to twelfth after pitting to replace the tyre, and finished eleventh after Pastor Maldonado retired late in the race with an engine failure. This was Vettel's first finish outside the points since the 2010 Belgian Grand Prix; Karthikeyan was given a 20-second post-race penalty for his part in the collision, which dropped Karthikeyan from 21st to 22nd and last.

After the race, Vettel and Red Bull boss Christian Horner criticised Karthikeyan's driving, with Vettel calling Karthikeyan an "idiot", and a "cucumber". Karthikeyan hit back at Vettel, calling him a "cry-baby". Later, Karthikeyan decided to call a truce with Vettel, stating his respect for Vettel's abilities and saying "I think we have to deal with it in a mature way and forget about it." Vettel qualified eleventh for the Chinese Grand Prix; the first time he had qualified outside the top ten since the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix, although he ran as high as 2nd with 7 laps remaining until tyre wear on a 2-stop strategy took its toll and he dropped to 5th by the flag.


Vettel took his first victory of 2012 in Bahrain
Vettel qualified in pole position for the first time in 2012 at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Vettel was able to lead for most of the race, despite coming under pressure from Kimi Räikkönen, and crossed the line in first place to take his first victory of the season; the result also saw Vettel go top of the driver's standings for the first time in 2012. At the Spanish GP, he maintained his championship lead, albeit only on countback, after a 6th place finish having started 7th following on from a qualifying session in which he didn't set a time in Q3. Vettel received a drive-through penalty for failing to slow for yellow flags during the race as well as having to change his front wing as a result of debris from an incident involving Michael Schumacher and Bruno Senna. After an eventful race at Monaco, he placed fourth, gaining 5 places from his ninth-place grid position.


Vettel took his second victory of the 2012 season at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Vettel claimed his 2nd pole position for the season in Canada, however he dropped to 3rd after the first pitstops and then trying to go the remaining distance of the same tyres, he fell back in the closing stages and had to make a late stop for new tyres. He eventually came 4th. At the following race in Valencia, he claimed his 33rd pole position, going 3rd equal with Jim Clark and Alain Prost in the all time list. However joy turned to despair in the race as a 20 second lead in the first 20 laps was reduced to nothing by a safety car appearance. On the first lap of the restart, his car ground to a halt, with an alternator failure being the cause. Vettel would have taken the lead in the standings- instead, he fell back to 4th behind Alonso (who won), Hamilton and Webber.

At Silverstone, Vettel qualified 4th after a wet session which, at one point, had to be suspended for over 1 hour due to torrential rain. In the dry race he overcame a slow start, where he dropped to 5th, to finish 3rd behind Webber and Alonso. In Germany he started second, but before the third pit-stop, he was attacked by Hamilton, who wanted to unlap himself, lost some time, and was overtaken by Button after the pit-stop. On the penultimate lap he passed Button and finished second behind Alonso. After the race, however, the stewards found that Vettel was off the track when he overtook Button and so they awarded him a 20 second time penalty which dropped him back to fifth. At the following race in Hungary, Vettel finished 4th after starting 3rd. Then, at the Belgian Grand Prix, he fought back from a poor qualifying, where he was knocked out in Q2 to start 10th, and a poor start in which he had to avoid the big accident ahead of him. Having ended the first lap in 12th, he managed to finish 2nd. At Round 13 in Italy, Vettel started 5th and was running 4th until he forced Fernando Alonso onto the grass, for which he received a drive-through penalty, dropping him to 9th. Then, having recovered to 6th with 5 laps to go, the alternator on his car failed for the second time in the weekend. Vettel was classified 22nd, with championship leader Alonso coming 3rd and Hamilton winning.

After the summer break, the next race was the Singapore Grand Prix, where Vettel qualified 3rd. He overtook Pastor Maldonado at the start, before the leader Lewis Hamilton retired with a car failure. Vettel then kept the lead until the 2-hour race limit was reached. It was his first win in 10 races, ending his worst run since his maiden win (which came in his 22nd race). At Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix, Vettel took his 2nd career Grand Slam (Pole, Fastest Lap and lead every lap) and coupled with Alonso retiring on the first lap, he cut the gap down to just 4 points. On 14 October he won his third race in a row at the Korean Grand Prix. He overtook his team mate Mark Webber, who took the pole, to finish the race ahead of him, making it a Redbull one-two finish. South Korean "Gangnam Style" rapper PSY waved the chequered flag as Vettel crossed the finish line. With this win, Vettel took the lead in the overall championship from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. The Indian Grand Prix brought another victory, with Vettel topping all 3 practice sessions before taking pole position and leading every lap of the race to a comfortable win, ahead of teammate Mark Webber in 3rd – who lost his 2nd place when a KERS failure slowed him down.


Vettel at the US Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi presented one of Vettel's most controversial qualifying sessions of the season when, after setting the third fastest time in Q3, he was told to stop the car. A fuel pump issue was later found to be the source of this problem and the ensuing penalty meant Vettel was to start the race from last, but as Red Bull then decided to make changes to the car, he was forced to start from the pit lane. However, in the race, Vettel managed to fight his way back to 3rd place to complete the podium. After a podium in the US Grand Prix Vettel was well set up to win the championship in Brazil. Vettel started the race with a 13-point cushion against title contender Fernando Alonso. After a close eventful race full of spins, which included Vettel's opening lap incident with Bruno Senna, crashes and changing weather conditions, Vettel finished 6th while Alonso finished 2nd, resulting in Vettel winning the championship by three points. This was Vettel's third consecutive championship, and at age 25 he became the youngest ever triple world champion, beating Ayrton Senna's previous record. Senna won his third F1 world championship title in 1991 at age 31. Vettel also became the third driver to acquire three-consecutive championships, after Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.


ettel started his fifth season with Red Bull Racing by qualifying on pole for the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, before going on to finish the race in third place, twenty-two seconds behind race winner Kimi Räikkönen.He took pole again for the Malaysian Grand Prix in dominant display of wet weather driving, lapping over 2.5 seconds faster than teammate Webber.He went on to win the race, though not without controversy, after Vettel ignored team orders not to pass teammate Mark Webber. Webber emerged from the pits a fraction of a second ahead of Vettel as they went side-by-side into the first corner. Although Red Bull told both drivers that they were to finish with Webber to take the win, after two laps Vettel eventually overtook Webber for the lead with eleven laps remaining in the race. Webber was furious after the race. Team principal Christian Horner, although unhappy with Vettel's actions, pointed out that Webber had defied team orders on several previous occasions, as recently as two races ago. Horner acknowledged that the already fragile relationship between the two drivers had further broken down as a result of the incident. Vettel apologised for his actions, claiming that he had not deliberately ignored the order despite the team's insistence that he had been made perfectly aware of the instruction to maintain his position. Vettel later recanted his apology, claiming that he was not sorry for winning and that if the situation presented itself again, he would have passed Webber in spite of the order, adding that he felt Webber did not deserve to win the race.

In the Chinese Grand Prix, Vettel qualified 9th, after not setting a time in Q3, before finishing 4th, setting fastest lap and crossing the line two-tenths behind 3rd placed Lewis Hamilton. Vettel won from second on the grid in Bahrain, passing Nico Rosberg in the opening laps. Vettel maintained the championship lead with 4th in Spain, and 2nd at the Monaco Grand Prix. He won in dominant fashion at Montreal, winning from pole position by 15 seconds and lapping everyone up to 5th, extending his lead to 36 points.


Vettel at the Belgian Grand Prix, where he took the first of nine consecutive victories.
His lead was cut at the British Grand Prix as he was denied a likely win due to gearbox failure, but he bounced back to win his home race in Germany for the first time, despite pressure from Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean. In Hungary, Vettel had to settle for 3rd behind Hamilton and Räikkönen, but wins in Belgium (from 2nd on the grid), Italy, Singapore and Korea (all 3 from pole) put him 77 points clear with only 5 races to go. With grand slams at Singapore & Korea, he became only the 3rd man after Alberto Ascari and Jim Clark to take consecutive grand slams. Vettel sealed his fourth world title at the 2013 Indian Grand Prix on 27 October.

On several occasions during the season, visitors of the Grand Prix have booed Vettel. Although the booing was widely condemned by fellow drivers, the media and others in the paddock, Vettel revealed he was affected by the crowd's behavior. "It's very difficult for me personally, to receive boos, even though you haven't done anything wrong," he said.


As of 2014 drivers can pick a unique car number that they will use for their F1 career, Vettel chose the number five. However as reigning World Drivers Champion he will carry number one throughout 2014. After struggling with reliability issues throughout winter testing, the season did not start much better for Vettel. At the Australian Grand Prix, software issues in the third free practice session and qualifying meant he had to start the race from 12th on the grid. The issues grew worse during the race, forcing him to retire, having completed three laps.


On 21 August 2009 it was announced that Red Bull and Vettel had extended his contract until the end of the 2011 season with an option for 2012. The option was taken up on 14 March 2011, as Vettel extended his contract with the team until the end of 2014. Vettel has mentioned he would like to drive for Ferrari at some point in his career and was rumoured to have a non-binding pre-contract, with options, to join them in 2014. Red Bull believe he will stay with the team for as long as they supply a competitive car. Prior to the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix, Red Bull's advisor Helmut Marko expressed his wish to extend Vettel's contract for another two years to 2016. On 11 June 2013, Vettel agreed to a contract extension with Red Bull until the end of the 2015 season.


Vettel competed in the 2007 Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium, representing the German team alongside Michael Schumacher. Vettel and Schumacher won the Nations' Cup Title, after exciting finals. Vettel had to beat two RoC champions, Heikki Kovalainen and Marcus Grönholm, after Schumacher stalled his car. Vettel lost the individual competition however, in first heat, in his second battle against Kovalainen.

Vettel also competed in the 2008 Race of Champions, alongside Michael Schumacher. Once again they won the Nations' Cup Title after a close final against Scandinavia. In the Driver's Cup, Vettel beat Troy Bayliss in Round One, but lost to Sébastien Loeb in the quarter-finals. Again Vettel teamed up with Michael Schumacher for the 2009 RoC Nations Cup, which they went on to win in a run-off against the Great Britain team of Jenson Button and Andy Priaulx. In the 2010 edition, on home ground in Düsseldorf, Vettel again teamed up with Schumacher to win the Nations Cup for the fourth time in a row. In the Driver's Cup, Vettel was eliminated in the semi-finals by Filipe Albuquerque, who went on to win the event.

In 2011, Vettel and Schumacher completed their fifth consecutive Nations Cup win, beating the Nordic team of Tom Kristensen and Juho Hänninen 2–0 in the final. In the semi-finals, Vettel had to beat both Andy Priaulx and Jenson Button, after Schumacher lost to Button. The year after, Vettel and Schumacher won their sixth Nations Cup title by defeating the French team of Romain Grosjean and Sébastien Ogier 2–0 in the final.


Vettel's passion for different helmet designs started at a young age, and from his early days in karting, he has worked with helmet designer Jens Munser. At age eight, Vettel wanted the crab from The Little Mermaid, who was also called Sebastian, on his helmet. Vettel's original helmet, in Formula One, like most Red Bull-backed drivers, was heavily influenced by the energy drink company logo. New to Vettel's helmet since the start of 2008 has been the incorporation of the red cross shape of the Kreis Bergstraße coat of arms on the front, just underneath the visor, in honour of the region of his birthplace, Heppenheim.

After switching to Red Bull in 2009, Vettel started regularly using a variety of new helmet designs. Some designs were small changes to his original Red Bull design, while others are completely original designs, such as the one he used at the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix: Vettel had a special white-red helmet design, with black kanji and hiragana for "gives you wings". Several of his helmet designs also featured his team members. At the 2012 Italian Grand Prix, Vettel celebrated his 50th helmet design with a 'rusty' matte look and 50 tallies, indicating his 50 helmet designs in Formula One. At the end of the 2013 Formula One season, Sebastian Vettel has used 76 different helmets throughout his career. "I have a quirk" he admits.

Vettel started his 2013 campaign with a new design in honour of Felix Baumgartner, for his world record Red Bull Stratos space jump in October 2012.

Helmet manufacturer Arai have stated Vettel 'retires' a helmet design after each win, although he does not need to win in order to sport a new design.


Inspired by American bomber pilots on World War II, Sebastian Vettel has made it a tradition to name his cars. Vettel invites his team members to dinner when they arrive for the first race of the season and shares what the new car will be named. "It’s important to have a close relationship with a car. Like a ship, a car should be named after a girl as it’s sexy." The car he drove for his first full season in 2008, the Toro Rosso STR3, was named Julie, followed by Kate and Kate's Dirty Sister (2009), Luscious Liz and Randy Mandy (2010), Kinky Kylie (2011), Abbey (2012), and Hungry Heidi (2013). Vettel's car for 2014, the Red Bull RB10, has been baptized "Suzie".


Vettel's unexpected win at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix led the media to dub him the "Baby Schumi", "New Schumacher". He was not just dubbed this for his nationality, but also because of his driving style, his concentration and the hands-on role he plays behind the scenes with his team of engineers. Vettel played down the comparison stating he wanted to be the "New Vettel".


Vettel and Michael Schumacher both competed in the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix, where Vettel won his second world championship title.
Nevertheless, the similarities are marked. Like Schumacher, Vettel grew up in a small town with an everyday background—Schumacher's father a bricklayer and Vettel's a carpenter. Both had their first taste of racing at the Kerpen karting track near Cologne, not far from the Nürburgring. Vettel began driving in his garden lapping the garden many times, not even stopping to eat or shower, before he could legally take to the roads, and said his passion for cars was nurtured by watching Schumacher compete.

After winning his first championship in 2010, and being hailed as the 'Next Schumacher', Vettel has stated he did not want to aim for Schumacher's record after learning how hard it was to get one championship under his belt, though he would like to win more. It was in their next season that the two drivers began to dominate the sport, both clinching their second successive title before the season was finished (unlike the previous year) in only their fourth full season. Both drivers became the youngest ever double World Champion at the time, by doing this.

In 2011, Pirelli's Paul Hembery was impressed when Sebastian Vettel was the only driver to take the time to visit the factory and talk to the tyre manufacturer to gain a better insight and improve their racing. The "only other driver that asks us a lot of questions" is Michael Schumacher. Hemberey "found that interesting. It is like seeing the master and the protégé at work."


Red Bull Racing sponsor Infiniti released a Sebastian Vettel edition of the Infiniti FX SUV for 2012. It features increased engine power, revised bodywork and lower suspension than the standard model.


Vettel was named Rookie of the year at the annual Autosport Awards in 2008. In 2009, Vettel was awarded the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy, for achievements in the 2008 season. In the year 2010, he was voted German Sportspersonality of the Year (Sportler des Jahres). In the same year, he won the International Racing Driver category at the Autosport Awards for the first time, and has since won this award for three successive years (2010–2013). In January 2012, Vettel was honoured with the illustrious Grands Prix de l'Academie des Sports 2011 for being the "Double consecutive F1 World Champion at the age of twenty four — winner of eleven Grands Prix out of nineteen", and in the following month, he was further honoured with the highest sports award in Germany, the Silberne Lorbeerblatt – Silver Laurel Leaf – in recognition of his multiple world titles and his exemplary character. He was also voted F1 driver of the year in 2009, 2011 and 2013 by the F1 team principals for the annual secret poll, initiated by Autosport magazine, while being voted runner-up in 2010 and 2012. He additionally won the DHL Fastest Lap Award in 2009, 2012 and 2013. He became European Sportsperson of the Year by Pap in consecutive years (2012 and 2013) and also by UEPS in 2010. In 2014, he was named Sportsman of the year at the Laureus World Sports Award held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



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