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F1 Driver Review: Sebastian Vettel

Dec 16, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

APTOPIX Japan F1 GP Auto Racing AP

After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.

We start, inevitably, with now four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel…

SEBASTIAN VETTEL

No. 1 Red Bull-Renault
2013 Stats: Champion, 13 Wins, 17 Podiums, 18 Top-5s, 18 Top-10s, 684 Laps Led
Average Start: 2.1
Average Finish: 2.6
DNFs: 1

DiZinno says: Look at Vettel’s past three titles, and then look at 2013 by comparison to see the decided brilliance that this year’s has accomplished by comparison. In 2010, Vettel won when Ferrari mirrored the wrong Red Bull strategy of teammate Mark Webber at Abu Dhabi. In 2011, Vettel was dominant, and pretty much unchallenged from the start of the year. A year ago, Vettel outlasted Fernando Alonso, who took a far inferior car within a single race and a handful of points from the title. This year, good but not great in the first half, and otherworldly in the second, it seemed as though Vettel was in his own class. He still has his detractors, but they are fewer by the day. Right now driver and team have maximized F1’s current formula; no one else has come close.

Estrada says: Things were looking good early on for a solid World Championship battle, but in the second half, Vettel proceeded to stink up the show with an incredible display of power. Clearly, the RB9 was loving the new tires rolled out by Pirelli in mid-season, but Vettel still showed how immensely talented he is behind the wheel. Following his win at the United States Grand Prix, Vettel asked his Red Bull mates to “remember these days.” Perhaps we also need to do that. Because right now, we are simply watching the best driver of his era continue to build one of the greatest careers in Formula One history.

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