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Vettel approaches complete F1 dominance with fourth title

Oct 28, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of India - Race Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel has been undefeated since the summer break ended. Not since the Hungarian Grand Prix in July has anyone else had stood on the top step of the podium.

The scale of Vettel’s success invites comparisons with the peaks of dominance achieved by drivers like Michael Schumacher, Jim Clark and Alberto Ascari.

With ten wins under his belt this year and three remaining, Vettel could tie Schumacher’s record of winning 13 races in a season (achieved in 2004, when there was one fewer event on the calendar).

His six consecutive wins means he could equal Schumacher and Ascari’s record winning seven consecutive races. Ascari actually went further – he won nine consecutive starts in 1952 and 1953, missing one of the races – but Vettel is on course to match that 60-year-old record.

This kind of sustained success is not unprecedented but it is extremely rare. For Vettel to do it at a time when the technical rules are tighter than ever makes it especially impressive.

Ascari typically won races by a minute or more as Ferrari’s 500 was the class of the field at a time when the championship was briefly run to F2 rules.

In 2004 Schumacher enjoyed virtually bespoke tires from Bridgestone and had unlimited testing to hone them to his exact specifications. Vettel, like everyone else in the field, gets what he’s given.

The mid-season change in tire construction (on safety grounds following the explosions seen at Silverstone) are probably part of the explanation for Red Bull’s step forward. Yes, Vettel was already ahead in the championship before then and Hamilton won the first race on the new tires, but the RB9 seems to have extracted more from them than any other car.

But Vettel knows these times won’t last forever. The coming overhaul of the technical regulations represents the biggest challenge to his four-year F1 supremacy so far, as he acknowledged after claiming the title yesterday:

“It’s a big, big, big project waiting for us next year. I think teams like Mercedes, Ferrari spend a lot of time thinking of new ideas. It’s a new car, it’s a new engine so it will be an incredibly big challenge.”

  1. apexassassin - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    But unlike Mercedes and Ferrari, Red bull didn’t do their own tire test! They interpreted the data better and faster than their rivals.

    “Ascari typically won races by a minute or more as Ferrari’s 500 was the class of the field at a time when the championship was briefly run to F2 rules.

    In 2004 Schumacher enjoyed virtually bespoke tires from Bridgestone and had unlimited testing to hone them to his exact specifications. Vettel, like everyone else in the field, gets what he’s given.”

    Vettel haters who love to pin his success on Adrian Newey, take note of that please.^^^^^^^

  2. indycarseries500 - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    You should probably re-read that since you basically just pinned his success on Newey

    • apexassassin - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      No you should reread it. But since you often struugle with reading comprehension I’ll explain it for you in [mostly] monosyllabic words:

      All the best drivers had good cars and Vet did it in a time when the rules actually made the field closer. No F1 car in a F2 field, no special tires just for RBR, no test team running relentlessly at Fiorani. ;)

      • indycarseries500 - Oct 29, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        You said he “gets what he’s given” implying that it’s all car.

      • apexassassin - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:36 PM

        No the article said that. Keep trying though, you misanthropic troll.

        Beer stick to your PBR and IRL. ;)

      • apexassassin - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:39 PM

        @ genius500:

        No the article said that. That’s what quotation marks mean. Maybe try reading the article and training that undersized potatochip you claim is a brain to recall what you read. then you can work on interpretation.

        After Halloween tomorrow I expect you to take off yourBetter stick to your misanthropic troll costume, lol. Nice try though, now back to PBR and IRL with you lame ass. ;)

    • apexassassin - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      Also 16-2. :P

  3. manik56 - Oct 28, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    You make it sound like Michael and Ferrari were the only team allowed unlimited testing. Were the rules back then not the same for everyone? I would think the lack of testing makes things easier on the teams in front because it is harder to catch them. I would think things would be a bit different today if Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes were allowed to test their brains out to catch the Red Bulls.

    • apexassassin - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      Ferrari owned their own track and it’s right next to their factory so that is a huge advantage of the other teams. Not to mention Ferrari gets extra perks for being Ferrari… special Ferrari only tires, veto power over any regulation they disagree with, plus what? an extra $60 million just participating.

      Don’t get me wrong though. I like testing and think the FIA/FOM’s cost reduction schemes are a joke that are only hurting F1.

  4. worknman24hours - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    I remember the days of Schumacher and Ferrari and they were pretty much the same as this run Vettel and Red Bull has done.

    There was a time when people wanted them to lose just as much as Vettel and Red Bull today and for the most part, they just kept winning.

    Definitely dominant in their times in very similar ways-regardless of the tires.

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