He is only 26-years-old and yet Sebastian Vettel is set to become a four-time consecutive Formula One World Champion.
The only other drivers to achieve this monumental feat are Fangio from 1954-57 and Michael Schumacher, who won five consecutive titles from 2000-2004.
However, despite the unbelievably impressive figures, many still get the feeling that Vettel is yet to really 'fight' for a title. He has been lucky enough to be driving for a team that has had almost total dominance in the sport during his time with them.
The German’s first championship-winning year was 2010. Many expected Fernando Alonso to take the title; if it wasn’t for a shocking strategy error from Ferrari in the final race of the season, he would have done.
In the following season, Red Bull and Vettel were totally dominant; the German won the title by 122 points, taking 11 victories in the process.
2012 was more competitive; a challenge from McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton would have been more serious had it not been for the Woking team’s string of embarrassing strategy and pit-stop errors.
Fernando Alonso’s title challenge faltered as the season drew to a close and he eventually lost the Championship to Vettel by three points.
2013 has seen Vettel take six victories from season’s 12 races so far; he is 53 points ahead of Alonso in second place. With only seven races remaining, Vettel is expected to win the Championship again.
If Adrian Newey continues to design cars that are of a similar ilk to the last three, Vettel may be looking at challenging Michael Schumacher and his seven world titles.
However, Mercedes are expected to be faster in races next season than they have been so far in 2013. Ferrari will have the added prowess of Kimi Raikkonen to go with Fernando Alonso’s phenomenal pace.
No-one can discount a team like McLaren either, they are still considered to be ‘heavyweights’ in Formula One and many expect them to be far stronger next season.
Potentially, 2014 could see Vettel battling against four former champions in Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen and Alonso. The Spaniard said that he regards Hamilton as the quickest driver on the grid, if he has a car to back him up he will be formidable.
Daniel Ricciardo, recently signed as Vettel’s teammate for next season, will be itching to prove himself. If Ferrari can improve the performance of their car, they have two of the world’s best drivers to bring home a championship.
There are very few who have a better ‘racing brain’ than Button. His 2011 win from the back of the field in Canada illustrates just how good he is.
Vettel has had a relatively easy ride so far for someone who has won so much. If Red Bull slip in relation to the other teams, he is going to discover just what a struggle it can be to win against the best.
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