Sebastian Vettel winning around Formula 1 circuits is getting as monotonous as Usain Bolt scorching the tracks around the world, or so it would seem. The German driver has dominated the adrenalin sport much like the Jamaican sprinter. Even their critics grudgingly accept that they are truly great.
Vettel is in a hurry. He is the youngest to win four consecutive world championships. His triumph at the Indian Grand Prix Sunday was his sixth successive win and tenth overall in 16 races of the unfinished season and the German's name is taken in the same breath as iconic Michael Schumacher (seven titles), Juan Manuel Fangio (five) and Alain Prost (four).
However, some have started saying that his uncompromising domination of the sport for so long is making it a bit boring.
But these pundits also say that Vettel can't be blamed for the predictable trend. They accept that the 26-year-old is simply unbeatable and others need to find ways to challenge him more intently to make racing more competitive and interesting.
"I think Sebastian is simply outstanding. Today, I can say he is probably the best we have had. I would put him right alongside greats like Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. If someone is that good, you can only congratulate him. The others have to speed up. Vettel is the best at the moment and others are not good enough," former three-time drivers' world champion Niki Lauda told IANS.
Vettel did not face trouble winning the 2011 crown but he had to work hard in 2010 and 2012 when he clinched the championship by a narrow margin of three-four points. He felt the heat in the first half this year but six wins in a row in the second, put him in command.
Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn refused to believe that Vettel made the sport boring. The Indian-origin team chief, who first gave Vettel a chance to compete in F1 in 2007, said the others should take it as a challenge to catch up.
"Sebastian's performance over the last four years has been very impressive. I don't think it is boring. I think it is simply one team dominating. It is actually a push for all the other teams to try to improve and catch the team in front," the Dehradun born Kaltenborn told IANS.
Vettel's mastery reminds us of the first half of the last decade when Ferrari's Michael Schumacher won five consecutive world titles, forcing F1's governing body, the FIA, to change the rules to make the championship more competitive.
Former F1 driver and now a media expert Martin Brundle agreed that Vettel winning everything is not ideal for the sport, but the true fan will appreciate the history the Red Bull driver is creating.
"It is not ideal because in sport you don't want to know the result before the match. We have to appreciate the excellence and it is not his fault. It's the others who need to rise to the occasion. You can't complain about him winning," said Brundle, now a commentator.
"You watch Usain Bolt winning 100 metres. We want him to win because he is amazing and I think Vettel is amazing behind the wheel of a racing car. The true F1 fans are appreciating the excellence while hoping for some surprises. If people just walk away from F1 just because Vettel is winning then they are just casual fans. Things may change next year but you can't criticise him for doing a great job," added Brundle, who raced in the 1980-90s against the likes of Schumacher, Prost and Senna.
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