With a new car design and a fierce desire to reshuffle the Mercedes Dynasty, Sebastian Vettel has emerged in 2018 as a dominant force in Formula 1 again.
In late 2017, the December issue, The ECHO published a prediction that Lewis Hamilton would stutter in the 2018 season and that Ferrari’s shining red cars would take back the art. It is safe to say that Hamilton has stuttered and Ferrari is on its way.
Sebastian Vettel began the season with a big win at the opener, the Australian Grand Prix. The track consists of 58 laps on a winding five kilometer circuit in Melbourne’s Albert Park. The route has become a staple indication of the strength of team organization, as it is the first stop in the World Championship. Vettel, racing passionately for Scuderia Ferrari, was able to dominate the competition, beating underwear model Lewis Hamilton by an unheard of 5.036 seconds. Much of this can likely be attributed to the superior teamwork of the Ferrari pit team, but ultimately it comes down to the driver, and Vettel is clearly back from his multi-year slump.
The German driver first entered Formula 1 with Red Bull Racing and quickly became the care-free, rebellious character he is known for today. Mocking other racers (even Kimi Raikkonen, his teammate), giving interviews consisting entirely of weather commentary, and generally rejecting the tight lipped focus of the standard racing driver has allowed Vettel to gain a cult following. Few remember that during his time with Red Bull, Vettel also found serious success, winning four World Championships in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Proceeding from this near unparalleled success, Vettel moved up to Ferrari, the team where driving is an art and where the past lives in the mind of every team member. However, his first years at Ferrari were rocky, and it seemed he couldn’t work well with Raikkonen at first on team Ferrari and didn’t adapt well to the Italian car. But in 2017 he began to perform like the Italian master that he aspired to be, and by the end of the 2017 season Vettel had finished in second place by only a few points, making Ferrari close to being numero uno once again.
Now, starting the 2018 season at the Australian Grand Prix, Vettel carried the sleek reds, with updated engines to master the field, right to first. He classically embraced his new victorious Italian family, saying from the cockpit, “Grazie, grazie. Forza Ferrari” after crossing the line to bring Ferrari into a new age.
It continued from there: in Bahrain, another victory for Vettel. However, in China he was attacked by rookie driver Max Verstappen. Around a tight turn, following a DRS zone, Verstappen aggressively attempted to squeeze by, only sending himself into a spin and pushing Vettel out of the position and hurting his chances dramatically. The aberration of Vettel’s subpar placement can be attributed fully to Verstappen’s juvenile driving.
“I locked the rears and hit him. It was of course my fault,” said Verstappen about the incident, “Not what I want. It is easy to say after that I should have waited, and that probably would have been the best idea, but unfortunately it happened.”
Most recently, in Azerbaijan, Vettel scored a fourth place finish. However, he remains in tight competition with his rival, Calvin Klein representative Lewis Hamilton.
Ultimately, the conclusion is clear. Vettel will have ups and downs but will come out leading. The classic, consistent style of his driving, paired with the passionate fervor of the Scuderia Ferrari team are undoubtedly going to push him past Hamilton. What has Hamilton said to account for his failure so far? Hamilton reportedly complained about new engine regulations, even saying they “sucked.”