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Remembering These Days: Sebastian Vettel’s Best Moments

Written by Alejandra Guajardo Lozano, Edited by Meghana Sree

Image Credits - CNN

It's been a year since the four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel retired from Formula 1. It was Abu Dhabi 2022, where Vettel, with tears in his eyes, bid goodbye to the sport he had loved throughout his entire life.

This piece will go over some of the best moments in his brilliant career – moments where Vettel proved to be one of the best drivers this sport has ever had.

United States Grand Prix 2007- A Perfect Start

Back to where everything started for the 19 year-old at the time. He was called by BMW Sauber to cover for Robert Kubica, who wasn’t allowed to race due to a horrific crash at the previous race.

Vettel made his debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting from seventh on the grid. The German youngster finished the race in eighth, becoming the youngest driver to score points in a Formula 1 Grand Prix at the time.

This brilliant start was the first sign of a brilliant career that would follow.

Italian Grand Prix 2008 - Maiden Win

In 2008, Vettel was driving for Toro Rosso, a team who in no way fought for the front positions. That changed at that year’s Italian Grand Prix, where rain clouds cast shadows over the Monza circuit.

Vettel secured pole position on Saturday after an amazing lap on the rain-soaked track. He became the youngest pole sitter in F1’s history, being just 21 years and 72 days old.

On Sunday, the rain wouldn't stop but neither would Vettel. He showcased probably one of the best wet-weather drives of all time, and kept his first place even after everyone expected him to fall back.

That day, Vettel had just won a Grand Prix, the first of many.

Abu Dhabi 2010 - Du Bist Weltmeister

It was the season finale of the 2010 F1 season, and Vettel entered the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix third in the driver standings. He was 15 points behind the Ferrari driver and championship leader, Fernando Alonso; and seven points behind his Red Bull teammate, Mark Webber.

Alonso was the favourite to win the championship that year. But a flawed strategy by Ferrari left the Spanish driver struggling in the middle behind slower cars. Webber had the same fate as Fernando.

Vettel, who had started from pole, comfortably took the victory. As the German crossed the line, there was an expectant air, as his race engineer, Guillaume Rocquelin, waited for the others to cross the line to see if the German driver had secured the championship.

“You just wait sunshine, you just wait,” Rocquelin told Vettel.

After moments, finally, Kubica was the one that crossed the line in P5, leaving Fernando Alonso finishing P7, ahead of Webber.

“Du bist Weltmeister!”

And that’s how Vettel became the youngest Formula 1 World Champion in history, at the age of just 23 years and 134 days. This monumental moment in the sport’s legacy marked Vettel’s first championship of four.

Brazilian Grand Prix 2012 - Against All Odds

2012 saw a dramatic title fight between Vettel and Alonso. The German driver arrived in Brazil with a 13 point-lead over the Ferrari driver. Both championship contenders qualified poorly for Sunday’s race, the Red Bull driver qualifying fourth while the Ferrari driver qualified all the way down in eighth.

But things took a turn for the worse for Vettel after a collision with Williams driver, Bruno Senna. Vettel dropped to the back of the field and the chances of him getting the title started fading as Alonso gained positions.

But with a damaged side pod and a “never give up” attitude, Vettel was willing to fight against all odds. He cruised through the field and started gaining positions, reaching sixth place by the eighth lap of the Grand Prix.

P6 was just enough for him to claim his third consecutive title, three points ahead of his rival. Vettel had just become a three-time consecutive World Champion at the short age of 25, cementing him as one of the greatest drivers this sport has seen.

Image Credit - Oracle Red Bull Racing

Indian Grand Prix 2013 - Unstoppable

2013 was Vettel’s most dominant year. He made the record of most consecutive wins in a season with nine consecutive wins, a record which was just broken in 2023 by current Red Bull driver and triple World Champion, Max Verstappen.

That year’s Indian Grand Prix was a perfect example of Vettel’s prowess. The German driver started from pole position but dropped to 17th place after a few laps. He didn't let this affect him and quickly picked up his pace, overtaking every single car in front of him. He finished the race in first place, nearly half a minute ahead of Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who finished second.

With this masterful win, Vettel claimed his fourth consecutive title. After celebrating his championship with doughnuts on the track, he bowed down to the RB9, the car that accompanied and helped him become the unstoppable force that he was throughout the 2013 season.

Image Credits - Red Bull

Malaysian Grand Prix 2015 - Forza Ferrari

2015 marked Vettel’s first year at the Scuderia. This sparked many hopes and expectations, with comparisons of Vettel to his racing hero and fellow German, Michael Schumacher. Schumacher had given the Prancing Horse team five World Championships.

The Tifosi had their hopes up during the Malaysian Grand Prix as Vettel was starting second, right behind Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. The weather conditions were tricky, the temperatures being as high as the expectations thrust upon the Ferrari driver.

On the fourth lap, after both Mercedes drivers pitted under an early Safety Car, Vettel gained the lead of the race after deciding to stay out. He stopped later, and with fresher tyres, overtook Rosberg. After a quick second stop, he managed to come out ahead of Rosberg and to overtake Hamilton. He finally crossed the chequered flag to claim his first victory with the Italian Scuderia.

“Woohoo! Yesss! Si Ragazzi! Ahhh! Mi senti? Mi senti? Grazie, grazie, grazie! Dai! Forza Ferrari!,” a jubilant Vettel exclaimed on his radio as he crossed the line, giving the Italian team their first win since Spain 2013.

Singapore Grand Prix 2019 - The Last Win

Nicknamed “The Lion of Singapore”, Vettel claimed his last Formula 1 win at this street circuit. After a beneficial strategy for the German, he managed to pull off an undercut and overtake his teammate, Charles Leclerc, who was nowhere near happy about this.

But Vettel kept going on a fresh rubber, flying through the field. With great skill and managing to deliver under pressure, the Ferrari driver claimed his first win in more than 12 months.

He crossed the line as the night sky lit up with fireworks, celebrating his victory. Looking back, it was befitting end to Vettel’s last win in Formula 1.

Image Credits - FIA

A True Role Model

When it comes to Vettel, it’s not only about his brilliant racing skills, but also about the amazing person and role model he is. He is a charitable person who cares about the environment and does everything he can to take care of it, so that future generations can enjoy it too.

He has had campaigns like “Please Don't Litter”, where after the 2021 British Grand Prix, he and a group of volunteers stayed behind for hours to clean the trash left behind by 140,00 fans.

Other remarkable environmental campaigns include “Save The Bees” and “Race Without Trace”. Additionally, his “Race for Women” campaign was an immense success where he organised a women-only karting event for women in Saudi Arabia who weren’t allowed to race until 2017.

Vettel is one of the best drivers Formula 1 has ever seen and as sad as it was to see him go, his brilliant presence both on and off track, and the moments when he made our hearts race and jump with excitement, will forever stay. Vettel leaves a strong legacy behind, with 53 race wins, 122 podium finishes, 57 pole positions, and 4 World Championships.

And as the man himself said,

We have to remember these days. Because there's no guarantee that they will last forever! Enjoy them as long as they last! I love you guys!

Image Credits - F1

1 comment

1 Comment

Nov 24, 2023

I’m not going to lie I cried while reading this.

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