F1: Here's Sebastian Vettel's Top 5 Grands Prix
By Mihir Barve
5 mins read
Published on November 19, 2022
Sebastian Vettel has been one of the most prominent figures around the paddock ever since his Formula 1 debut in 2007. Known to be an advocate for issues like global warming, Vettel arrives on race tracks on a bicycle, and sometimes even stays back for a clean up in the grandstands post races. He is undoubtedly one of the kindest person on the Formula 1 grid, and while his activities to make the World a better place certainly don't go unnoticed, what he's known best for are his extraordinary driving skills, especially from his Red Bull days. Sebastian Vettel may have had his share of ups and downs in his Formula 1 career, but with 4 World Championships and 53 race wins under his name, he is undoubtedly one of the greatest drivers of all time in Formula 1. As the German is set to retire after this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, we take a look at his top 5 Grands Prix performances, which stand out from the rest.
5. 2013 Indian GP
While this may not have been one of the races with an epic duel, or a race with a standout comeback, but the 2013 Indian Grand Prix was the race where Sebastian Vettel was crowned with his fourth and final World title. Starting the race from pole position, Vettel got the jump on everyone, and was already in a 4 second lead by the end of lap 1. However, Red Bull chose to pit him early as a part of an aggressive strategy, and while that dropped him down to P17, Vettel swiftly made up places, and was up in P2 by lap 24.
Sebastian Vettel bowed in front of his Red Bull RB9 after winning the 2013 Indian GP, and his fourth title with it.
In the end, Vettel won the race finishing almost half a minute ahead of second placed Nico Rosberg; a finish which resulted in a photograph that's embedded in every Vettel fans' memories. This was win no. 6 of the 9 consecutive races that Vettel won that year, equalling Michael Schumacher's '9 wins in a row' a record that stands to this day. Vettel also won a then record 13 races in 2013, a number which was bested by Max Verstappen this year.
4. 2008 Italian GP
2008 was Vettel's first full season in Formula 1, and at the young age of 21, he had already started to create headlines. But he got his first redemption when he secured his first career pole position and Grand Prix win at the 2008 Italian GP.
Vettel became the youngest polesitter & the youngest race winner at the 2008 Italian GP.
Driving for Toro Rosso, Vettel put in a good lap in the wet qualifying early on, and with conditions worsening, no one could match his lap time. Having started the Grand Prix behind a safety car, Vettel took charge of the wet race to gain a huge lead in the opening lap itself, and while he made a few errors, his strong pace helped Toro Rosso get their first Formula 1 win; at the team's home GP. Vettel also broke the record for the youngest polesitter ever, and the youngest Formula 1 Grand Prix winner at the time in a dominant display, paving his way to a Red Bull seat in 2009.
3. 2019 German GP
Coming off the early crash from the 2018 German GP - where he was leading the race - Vettel sought redemption at the 2019 German GP. But the road was tough for him, as he was set to start his home race from dead last. But chaos unfolded in front of him as rain poured, taking many front runners and mid fielders out of the contention of the podium places. Vettel shone through the gloomy weather to keep his calm, and made up place after place. He took the early risk of moving to slick tyres, and after another shower in the race, Vettel made a few more pitstops and kept climbing positions, to ultimately finish P2 in the race behind Verstappen. While it was not a race win, it was one of the best comeback performances of his career, which earns it a spot in our list.
Vettel drove a miraculous recovery drive to finish P2 after starting last, P20.
2. 2010 Abu Dhabi GP
Heading into the finale of the 2010 season at Abu Dhabi, there were still 4 drivers in title contention. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso lead the standings with Mark Webber 8 points behind him, and Vettel 15 points behind the Spaniard. Vettel had an outside chance of winning the championship, and he put himself in the best position to grab the win by qualifying P1.
Vettel managed to convert a 15 point deficit into a championship victory at the 2010 Abu Dhabi GP, to make him the youngest World Champion in history.
Come raceday, Vettel led away comfortably from the start, but all Alonso had to do was finish in the top 5 to be the World Champion. Alonso & Webber pitted early, and both of them got stuck behind slower cars, unable to pass on the Yas Marina's infamous layout. In the end, Alonso could only manage to finish P7 and Vettel grabbed the win, and the championship along with it. At the age of 23 years, Sebastian Vettel became the youngest World Champion in Formula 1 history.
1. 2012 Brazilian GP
If there was a race that bested Vettel's comeback performance in 2019 German Grand Prix, it was this, the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. Going into the last race of the 2012 season, Vettel was leading the championship, but was closely followed by Fernando Alonso. Both the contenders had a below average qualifying run, with Vettel qualifying fourth and Alonso in eighth. If that wasn't bad enough, Vettel was involved in an incident on the first lap of the race, which left him down in P22, and with a damaged car.
Despite crashing at the start and having car damage, Vettel recovered from P22 to P6 in Brazil to win the 2012 title with 3 points.
Thereon, Vettel drove an amazing comeback race, passing car after car. Aided with a bit of rain, Vettel could climb up to P6 by the end of the race. Alonso drove beautifully to secure P2, but that was not enough, as Vettel won his third crown by a mere 3 points from the Spaniard.
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