Sebastian Vettel: Four-time world champion and the master of race control

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Master of his craft: Sebastian Vettel.

A four-time world champion, there aren’t many better at controlling a race than Ferrari star .

Multiple championship wins and 51 grand prix triumphs don’t come easily and definitely put him up there with the best to have graced Formula One.

The 32-year-old has consistently battled for championship glory during his time at the Scuderia and has paved the way to help younger team-mate Charles Leclerc shine this season.

Vettel has experienced quite the time at the Prancing Horse, where he has been on time with Hublot, the Official Timekeeper and Watch partner of Ferrari.

NEW BEGINNINGS

When the German joined the Italian marque from Red Bull in 2015, he didn’t take long to showcase his supreme class behind the wheel.

In his first season, he consistently out-drove his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and secured seven podium finishes across the year.

Finishing third in the Drivers’ Championship may not have been a success in his eyes, but it was a superb maiden year at his new team, especially following the Ferrari’s disastrous 2014 campaign.

He was the only driver to keep the Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton honest, sealing three victories in Malaysia, Hungary and Singapore and regular podium visits.

Not only did he extract the maximum from the car, but he inspired the entire team following several years of disappointment.

Eyes of steel: Sebastian Vettel.

Eyes of steel: Sebastian Vettel.

In 2016, the Heppenheim native was unable to scale the same heights of the previous season, but his year was far from a disaster.

He should have won in Australia but a poor strategic call denied him victory. In Bahrain, his power unit failed on the formation lap and he was unable to start the race.

In Russia, he was taken out by Daniil Kvyat and he only had himself to blame in Malaysia when being forced to retire after making a mistake at turn one.

But aside from those blips, he finished in the top six at every round and secured seven podium finishes across the season.

His form dipped marginally but he still drove well in the third-fastest car on the grid to finish fourth in the Drivers’ Standings.

Strong conditioning in the off-season and a mental break from racing saw Vettel’s confidence rise ahead of the 2017 season.

With his times tracked by Hublot, he had the fastest car, and led the championship for the majority of the season. But disaster struck after Singapore in round 15.

From being 25 points ahead after Monaco, there was a stage when Hamilton was 66 points ahead – this was one that got away for Vettel.

Misjudgments in Mexico, Baku and Singapore all contributed to his loss of momentum.

But while there is a tendency to focus on the errors that may have cost his season, it’s important to remember his better moments and his victories in Australia, Bahrain, Monaco, Hungary and Brazil.

NEW PARTNER IN TOWN

Last year unraveled in much the same way – super quick races including five wins and five poles, but mental errors ultimately proving his downfall in the race for the title.

The arrival of Leclerc as a replacement for Raikkonen, however, has helped eke the best out of him once again.

Heading into 2019, the Scuderia had the quickest car during pre-season testing and its pace and beautiful balance made it look like the car to beat.

Early advantage over Mercedes was going to be key, but the Silver Arrows were utterly dominant, winning 10 of the first 12 races.

After a run of near-misses, the summer break breathed new life into the team, and proceeded to sweep up four of the next five races.

Vettel’s win in Singapore ended a drought stretching back to the 2018 Belgian GP and completed a hat-trick of victories since the summer break for Ferrari, kick started by Leclerc.

It is a big step forward and they have given Mercedes a real fight over the last few months, something they had not come up against for the previous three years.

Catching Hamilton may have come too late, but Vettel is showing signs that his hunger of old is back – setting up a tasty 2020 alongside Leclerc in the Prancing Horse.

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