German had an incredible year
press trust of india
New Delhi, 29 December
Sebastian Vettel earned himself the title of a modern great in the year 2013, which will be remembered for the young German’s sheer domination on the Formula One tracks even as India, where his historic fourth crowning took place, was chopped off the next calendar year.
From the Belgium Grand Prix in August to the season-ending Brazilian race in November, Vettel won nine races on the trot and during his stunning victory spree, he became the youngest quadruple champion.
The extraordinary run eclipsed Michael Schumacher’s mark of seven consecutive victories in a single season. Not only this, Vettel won 13 races to tie Schumacher’s 2004 record. The victories in Singapore and Korea were ‘grand slams’ as he was on pole, set the fastest lap, won the race and led every lap of those races. Apart from his own driving skills, a lot of credit for Red Bull’s domination would go to Andrew Newey, their chief technical officer, who converted the RB09 into an unbeatable beast.
Vettel won races with such consummate ease, sometimes by a huge 30-second margin, that it forced some people to call F1 boring due to his domination. Drivers such as Fernando Alonso, who never give up, appeared helpless as they accepted that Vettel cannot be beaten, at least this season. Vettel had his own ‘stubborn’ ways and he displayed that when he defied the team orders, not letting his teammate Mark Webber win in Malaysian GP.
This invited a lot of criticism and was perhaps the only blemish in an otherwise super calender year for him. However, Vettel defended his action, saying it was payback time since Webber had done the same to him in Brazil in 2012.
With Vettel winning everything, the fight was restricted to two other podium places. Alonso was a distant second, and Webber, who has quit the sport, was third in the drivers’ standing.
Sahara Force India had a great first half and was threatening to displace McLaren from the fifth spot but the tyre change by Pirelli post the Silverstone blowouts pegged the outfit back.
A poor run followed for the team and even the sixth place looked in danger with Sauber making fast progress, exploiting the tyre-change. Nevertheless, an improved showing from the Indian Grand Prix onwards helped Force India retain the sixth position.
From Indian GP’s point of view, it is feared that the fans in the country have seen the last F1 race at Buddh International Circuit.