Amazing. It’s been 16 days of continuous posting, and I’ve barely touched on my favourite F1 driver and adopted son, Sebastian Vettel. So I thought for Day 16, I’d throwback to my RaceWorld TV days a bit and do a Top 5 list. One day, I’ll fulfill my lifelong dream and become a voiceover guy for WatchMojo. In the meantime, let’s run down my Top 5 favourite moments of Sebastian Vettel’s career so far. The list here may just surprise you. Also, god that fact I’m capable of leaving out MULTIPLE World Title wins, makes me so damn spoilt.
#5 – Seb Winning His Fourth World Championship (India 2013)
Okay, I’m not going to lie to you here. India was boring as all hell. Awful track layout, bad conditions, and a bad fit for the V8 era of F1 where tyre management was shot to shit. But it was a track that Sebastian dominated at, winning all three times he was there, including a Grand Slam victory in 2012.
The race itself was a crapshoot. Seb had no competition, especially after Webber had to retire with an alternator failure about two-thirds in. But the celebration is something I’ll never forget. The donuts on the start line, the bowing in front of the car, throwing his gloves into the stands… Iconic images. It was a realisation that we were witnessing one of the greatest drivers ever.
It was amazing to see Seb crying in Parc Ferme as well. I mean, when you’ve won your fourth title in a row, I could be understanding if you were a little more subdued compared to your first. A special day I think for any Sebastian fan. To think, he was called boring by so many, and he single-handedly brought back donuts.
#4 – Seb Winning The 2013 Singapore Grand Prix
One of these days, I’ll make a special video talking about just how ridiculous a #BEATEMDOWN this was. For those unaware, Seb’s made a habit of Singapore, having won there four times already. 2013 was probably the most impressive of these.
After future ass-whooper Daniel Ricciardo crashed into the grandstand to bring out a Safety Car on Lap 23, Vettel came out post-Safety Car and straight up annihilated the field. To the tune of two seconds a lap. He was able to pit in the later stages, and still, come out in front. By the time the race was over, Seb had won the race by 32.6 seconds. In what was essentially a 34 lap race.
For those more cynically minded, it wasn’t completely the car either. Mark was consistently three-tenths back in Quali, and running with the second group in the race. It was like he was in the peloton as prime Lance Armstrong had taken complete control of the race with 15km to the line, and no-one could go with him.
As a statement of sheer dominance, this probably stands out more than any other for Seb’s career. I like dominance. It’s a part of sports, and sometimes, you just have to sit back and admire it. What makes this a Top 5 moment, was when the F1 paddock effectively came together as a collective and said: “Nah, this booing has to stop”, even more so when Martin Brundle straight up told the Singapore crowd: “Sorry, that’s not right.” More on that in a minute.
#3 – Sebastian Wins His Third World Title (Abu Dhabi and Brazil 2012)
The end of the 2012 season doesn’t get enough credit for how batshit crazy it was. The whole season actually.
Vettel had won four straight rounds in Asia and was leading the Championship by 13 points over Fernando Alonso. We go to Abu Dhabi, and Seb has to start from the pit lane after running out of fuel on his in-lap. One of the biggest Sebastian criticisms was that he was a stupidly good front-runner and that he couldn’t pass people. But the fact he was able to climb through the field, not once, but TWICE (The 2nd time coming due to hitting the DRS sign mid-race), was the perfect Seb fan silencer I needed.
Sure, it was fortunate. Webber had that nasty crash with Kobayashi, and Lewis Hamilton’s engine died from the lead, but seeing Seb right behind race winner Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso as they came over the line was so, SO sweet. As a guy who has made it clear over time he’s no fan of Nando, that must have been so satisfying as he realised that Seb was on the podium and right behind him.
Double down on that in Brazil. Seb was reckless, needlessly hitting Bruno Senna. But again, made a stunning comeback to finish in the points and do enough to win the title by just three points. Passing Michael Schumacher to do it, and seeing him be the first to congratulate him, brought on the tears. It was just such a perfect, “passing the torch” moment.
Oh yeah… The Nando “face” at the end. Glorious. You know the one. An amazing finale to the greatest F1 season ever.
#2 – Multi 21
I know what you’re thinking. This is a very odd choice. But let me explain.
We know the story. Seb ignores a team order to steal the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix from Mark Webber and take the win for himself. Seb becomes the true villain of F1. I mean, he’d already pissed people off enough purely for his own success, the sport’s bloodlust for competition. But I loved that for the first time, we saw that Seb wasn’t just this mild-mannered, light-hearted guy who had everything handed to him on a plate in the eyes of many. He was as true a racer as anyone had ever seen, and he didn’t care if he tramped on a few toes to get there.
I remember “Darth Vettel” like it was yesterday. I remember the vitriol I had to stomach on Social Media. But I defended Seb. Simple reason… Multi 21 exposed a lot of F1’s audience to be hypocrites. The same fans who claimed to hate team orders and its influence on races were booing Sebastian for breaking those same orders and leaving it on track. Even funnier given the fight with Webber was one of the best of the year.
Welcome to sports. Where psychology is far more important than people realise. I hated the fact that Seb played the PR card, but one round later at China, he said: “I was faster, I passed him, I won.” We all talk as fans about people like Ayrton and Michael, and their ridiculous competitive instinct and win at all costs mentality, but we had double standards and all of a sudden, was defending Red Bull as a team, the same team we wanted so hard to lose so someone else could get a chance. Weird.
Sebastian forced the F1 audience to look itself in the mirror and ask itself some uncomfortable questions. For me, that was super important, and if I’m honest… I love being the villain. It’s far more fun, and much, MUCH more relatable. We’re not all Scott Dixon, and even his crown is slipping for being IndyCar’s “Peter Perfect”.
#1 – The 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix
I was wrong, man. I got too cocky. After 2013, I thought these good times as a spoilt Vettel fan would last forever.
As a fan, 2014 brought me down to my knees. The hybrid era began, and Red Bull got caught hot-dogging. They tried so hard to win in 2014, their hybrid was crap, and they were no longer the dominant force they were in the past. Not to mention, Daniel Ricciardo became an overnight superstar. Destroyed Sebastian, and basically drove him out of the team.
I was humbled. For those in the anti-Vettel camp, this was the whipped cream on the erect nipple of F1. Some actual vindication for their “Vettel’s overrated” hot takes. So, Seb goes to Ferrari. A new era. Nervous. Scores a solid podium on his first race.
Malaysia. Ferrari nails everything. Play a perfect 2-stopper to give Mercs no answer to beating them. A perfect pit stop to get him out ahead of Nico Rosberg, a critical part of the race. Seb actually passing Nico ON TRACK, and nearly doing the same with Lewis before he pitted himself.
But that win… Man. I was on Skype with Ryan as it was happening. I balled my eyes out when he won. Because at that point, that win was liberating. All the doubt of the last year, all the abuse I’d gotten on the Internet just for being a fan… It was like someone had shot the monkey off my back with a shotgun. It was a relief. It was hope. It was a magical win, and for me, the one thing I’ll always take with me with Seb. That bouncebackability. Even more so than the four titles, the Little Britain jokes, or the funny interviews. Malaysia 2015 is my favourite Sebastian Vettel moment, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that feeling.
Shoutout to that Singapore 2015 pole lap, though. That shit was sick.