|© Mark Thompson/Getty Images/Red Bull Racing
Despite plenty of records against his name and on the verge of a third world title, Sebastian Vettel hasn’t convinced every one of his prowess just yet.
The Red Bull driver’s enviable achievements have been shadowed by critics who believe that the results are credited to what has been the strongest car on the grid since the middle of the 2009 season.
But the German driver reminded that the progression from his stint at Toro Rosso to the performances at Red Bull has been fairly normal.
“If you look back, I don’t know how far, but as far as I can look back, I think there were never people, y’know, really, really successful in a really bad car,” Vettel said. “It’s a natural thing to happen that one day you have strong drivers in a strong team so you end up with a strong combination and then obviously that is difficult to beat.
“It’s natural to start in a weaker car, we have all been in that situation. Michael (Schumacher) started in a Jordan which wasn’t competitive but he set some highlights, Fernando (Alonso) started in a Minardi, set some highlights. Obviously in my case I started with the BMW, replacing Robert (Kubica) for one race, which was a great chance and then afterwards I got the seat in Toro Rosso, which at the time was not a very competitive car but I think we did a very good job and even won a race,” he cited.
And if that wasn’t enough, Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone told the German daily Bild Zeitung recently that the 25-year-old doesn’t have the charisma that flowed from past greats like James Hunt, Ayrton Senna and Niki Lauda.
“I don't know exactly what he said but maybe he was just taking the piss out of,” Vettel said before correcting himself considering the recent directive to keep language in check. “Sorry, maybe he was just taking the mickey out of the newspaper which is very possible with Bernie.
“Hopefully I have a little bit left in the sport so I can make up a little bit but also these days are very different to the previous days in terms of the freedom that we have,” the German explained. “To give you an example, imagine that you find all of us, sitting here on Saturday night having a beer, even if it's just one beer, it would be a massive scene on Sunday. Yeah, unfortunately it's not that easy as maybe it used to be in the past.
“Last race we were in Austin, in Texas. The last winner in Texas was Keke Rosberg in 1984, I think, and he was having a smoke on the podium,” Vettel pointed out. “I'm not sure whether people would be too happy with that when they already get excited when sometimes the language is not appropriate after just getting out of the car.”