Sebastian Vettel is a German Formula One racing driver currently competing for Aston Martin. He is a 4-time world champion and currently holds the title of the youngest Formula One Champion in the history of the sport. Sebastian Vettel began his Formula One career in 2007 in a one-off racing weekend for BMW Sauber and then would get a chance to drive for Red Bull Junior team, Torro Rosso, later in the year. He would be promoted to Red Bull racing in 2009 where he would go on a historic run of 4 consecutive titles with Red Bull. He’s currently signed with Aston Martin for the 2021 season.
Vettel was born on 3 July 1983 in Heppenheim, West Germany to Norbert and Heike Vettel. He has a younger brother and two older sisters. His childhood heroes were “The Three Michaels”- Michael Schumacher, Michael Jordan, and Michael Jackson. He was married to childhood friend Hanna Prater at a private ceremony in early 2019 and has three children, Emilie, Matilda, and a son born in 2019. Vettel is known to keep a private profile, he doesn’t maintain a social media account and doesn’t talk too much about his personal life either.
Vettel began karting at a very young age of 3 and started competing when he was 8 years old. He would slowly move up the categories making his mark wherever he competed and was recognized for a private test by Dereck Warwick and signed by the Red Bull Junior team in 1998. He would continue to rise through the ranks, winning the 2004 Formula BMW ADAC championship and finishing as runner-up in Formula Renault 3.5 series. He would get his first taste of Formula One in 2007 in a one-off opportunity to race for BMW Sauber at the US Grand Prix 2007. He finished the race in 8th to become the-then youngest driver to ever score a point in Formula One.
Formula One Career
BMW Sauber (2007)
Sebastian Vettel was hired as a test driver by BMW Sauber in 2006 and would get the opportunity to race for the team in a one-off weekend at the US Grand Prix. Vettel impressed one and all on his debut to score the first points of his career. Unable to accommodate the German in the racing team BMW had to release Vettel to join Red Bull’s Scuderia Torro Rosso and replace Scott Speed from the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Vettel impressed almost instantly with Torro Rosso as he was on course to finish 3rd at the wet Japanese Grand Prix, he would however crash into the future teammate, Mark Webber much to the wrath of the Australian post-race. He would however turn things around in the next race in China as he would finish the race in 4th position in a Torro Rosso.
In 2008 he would team up with Sebastian Bourdais and after a slow start to the season Vettel would take things up a notch by producing consistent results for the team. In what was a shocking turn of events, Vettel at Monza would qualify his Torro Rosso on Pole and win the race to become the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix. Vettel’s performances would propel him to a seat at Red Bull alongside Mark Webber for the 2009 season.
In 2009 Red Bull was able to transform itself from a midfield team to frontrunners with the changes in regulations. In a season that was dominated by Brawn GP, Red Bull was able to display its prowess as a front running team. Vettel would finish the season as a runner-up with 4 wins and 4 pole positions in the season.
The 2010 season would see Red Bull take another step forward as it became the fastest car in terms of outright pace, Sebastian Vettel had Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, and Mark Webber, all competing for the title. Throughout the season Vettel would display a strong run of pace but suffer reliability issues that would hamper his charge to the title. All of this however changed in the last race of the season. Vettel entered the race 3rd in the standings with an outside chance of winning the championship behind Alonso and Webber. He would qualify on pole and in a race that saw Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso tripping over each other, Vettel kept his head and would win the race and with it the title. With this, Vettel would become the youngest driver in history to become a Formula One champion.
The 2011 season would see Vettel and Red Bull pull away from the grid in terms of competitiveness. Mark Webber, Vettel’s teammate was no more a threat as he was always a considerable distance behind in terms of pace. Vettel would win the title with a few races to spare at the Japanese Grand Prix. Vettel would win 11 out of the 19 races and take pole in 15 races.
The 2012 season would see Vettel being involved in a year-long battle with Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard, albeit in much inferior machinery was able to stretch the German to the last race of the season only to lose the title by a single point. Vettel would win his third title in the last race of the season after mounting a sensational comeback following a first-lap collision.
The 2013 season, arguably the greatest of Sebastian Vettel’s career, saw Vettel take the Red Bull to 9 consecutive victories. In a season where he faced initial resistance from Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, Vettel was able to pull away from the grid race by race and win the championship with considerable ease. When asked about the change in regulations in the 2014 season Vettel admitted he was not a fan of the V6 Turbos if that would take away from the spectacle of the sport.
In the 2014 season, with the change in regulations Mercedes gained a huge advantage on the rest of the grid with their engines. The Mercedes engine was so much better that it left both Ferrari and Renault engines look ordinary. Red Bull using the Renault engines had a torrid time with reliability and it became evident very early in the season that Vettel would not be able to compete for the title. Throughout the season Vettel looked uncharacteristically off-color and was beaten by Daniel Ricciardo, it was during this time that Vettel announced his departure from Red Bull to replace Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.
Vettel joined Ferrari in what was expected to be a long term project. He won his second race with the team in Malaysia as he was able to display great tire management skills that propelled him to extend the life of the tires. Vettel would be a consistent podium finisher throughout the season and finish third in the championship with three wins.
In 2016 the Ferrari team would take a step back as Vettel would not be able to win any race and would struggle to put together consistent podium finishes as well. The car lacked the overall balance and performance that would see Red Bull jump them in the pecking order. Vettel would finish the season just 4th in the championship.
In 2017, Ferrari improved its car from earlier races as Vettel was able to challenge Lewis hamilton more consistently. By the mid-season, Vettel and Hamilton would trade wins but after the mid-season Hamilton and Mercedes were able to pull away considerably for Vettel to mount a challenge. Vettel would finish the season 2nd in the championship with 5 wins to his name.
In 2018, It was more of the same as Vettel once again would compete with Hamilton throughout the first half of the season only to lose the championship in the second half. Vettel would finish the season as runner up yet again and cracks began to appear in the Ferrari camp as wholesale changes were made in the team. Kimi Raikkonen was replaced with Charles Leclerc and Mattia Binotto took over the reins of the team.
The 2019 season was considered as the change of guard for Ferrari as the season saw Charles Leclerc come to Ferrari and beat Vettel in his very first season with the team. Vettel looked rattled throughout the season and although the battle was close between the two, the young driver looked more impressive and finished the season with more points and victories.
In 2020, Ferrari announced that they would replace Sebastian Vettel with Carlos Sainz for the 2021 season. Vettel would be completely outclassed by Leclerc throughout the season, unable to match the youngster’s pace. He would finish the season in a lowly 13th position with only a single podium to his name and would sign a contract with Aston Martin for the 2021 season.
- Most podium finishes in a season
- Most wins in a season
- Most Poles in a season
- Most laps led in a season
- Most consecutive Grand Prix wins
- Most Consecutive Grand Prix slams
- Youngest driver to score a double (pole position and race win)
- Youngest driver to score a hat-trick (pole position, race win, and fastest lap)
- Youngest driver to score a grand slam (pole position, win, fastest lap, and led every lap)
- Youngest Formula One World Drivers' Champion
- Youngest World Drivers' Championship runner-up
Father: Norbert Vettel
Mother: Heike Vettel