Sebastian Vettel has overtaken Fernando Alonso as the best driver on the Formula 1 grid, that is the belief of Gerhard Berger who helped bring the German up the F1 ranks at Toro Rosso.
Despite giving his former protege that title however, Berger has admitted the way in which Vettel dominated F1 towards the end of 2013 had sent him to sleep.
“I didn’t turn the television off, but sometimes I fell asleep in front of it,” the outspoken Austrian legend told Auto Motor und Sport.
Indeed the German’s run of nine straight wins from Belgium to Brazil en route to his fourth straight world title not only made history but cemented his place in the list of F1 greats, at least that’s what some people believe.
Others still claim Fernando Alonso is the best pound-for-pound racing driver on the F1 grid, but even Berger admits that is no longer the case.
“That’s not fair,” he told the German magazine.
“Mark Webber is a very good racing driver, and he was also sitting in a Red Bull,” he said.
“Until a year ago, I still saw Alonso as the most complete driver, but after this year I would put Vettel in first place for the first time.”
In fact the Austrian pointed to Alonso’s fiery attitude and some of his negative comments towards Ferrari during 2013 as revealing a weakness in the Spaniard, according to Berger when Vettel was faced with a difficult car at the start of last season, he simply knuckled down and made progress.
One person who has dropped down Berger’s list of the top drivers is Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, the Briton had a varied first season with the Brackley based team and the Austrian believes he has dropped back from the standards he showed in previous years.
“For me, just behind Vettel and Alonso comes Raikkonen, although with Alonso (at Ferrari) he might now reach his limits.
“Hamilton is also not as complete as those two (Alonso and Vettel), who are in a league of their own. Hamilton’s speed is enormous, but he has too many distractions.
Instead Berger claims Hamilton’s team-mate has shown more ability.
“I am impressed by Nico Rosberg,” he said, “who is underestimated. He did an unbelievable performance against Michael Schumacher, and now he’s doing the same with Hamilton.
“Step by step he is bringing the (Mercedes) team to his side. It was like that with Schumacher and now he’s turning the tables for a second time.”
Finally Berger spoke about the other Nico on the F1 grid, as the now Force India driver looks to build on a reputation he built towards the end of last season.
The Austrian says that while he thinks Hulkenberg is “good” he is “over-hyped” by the media.
“He is (going to be) driving for Ferrari, then Lotus, then McLaren, and all the trains departed,” he said.
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