Sebastian Vettel remains on course to win a fourth successive world championship title after he cruised round the streets of Singapore in imperious fashion on Sunday. The German’s win took him 60 points clear at the top of the drivers’ standings, and, barring a huge upturn in fortunes, he won’t be caught. Vettel may not be the most popular driver in Formula 1—or even the quickest—but he is the best.
But who is the best at winning? Vettel.
His Desire to Win
Vettel was roundly booed on the podium following Sunday’s race—his 33rd career win—as he has been for much of the season. Undeterred, he appeared relaxed and even managed to joke about the crowd’s hostile reception.
That’s because he knows he is doing something right.
He won’t enjoy being booed, but at the same time he won’t want it to stop. It’s a strange paradox, but an addictive one from Vettel’s perspective.
He alluded to as much in an interview with Sky Sports: “If they boo, it's a compliment—that's the way I take it, they are jealous because I win.”
His desire to win, however, is also perhaps what alienates him from some fans. In Malaysia earlier this year, he ignored team orders and overtook his teammate Mark Webber for the race victory.
After initially apologising, he remained steadfast in explaining why he chose to race Webber.
“The bottom line is I was racing, I was faster, I passed him, I won,” he said to Sky Sports.
Sebastian Vettel is the youngest Formula 1 driver ever to score a point, the youngest driver to win a race and the youngest triple world champion.
It’s truly remarkable that he managed all of this by the age of 25 (he’s 26 now). Even the most ardent of F1 fans, who continue to question the German, have to admire what he is doing in the sport.
Of course, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the fact that he’s had the best car by some distance in securing his three world titles.
But so has Mark Webber.
The BBC’s Gary Anderson explained why Vettel should be celebrated as a driver: “Love him or hate him—that's an individual's choice. But the guy deserves respect for what he has done. Nobody wins three world championships just by luck.”
Silencing the Doubters
Vettel will no doubt have his eyes set on his compatriot Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles, a feat that he could reach by the age of 30.
His age is a large part of what makes him so great, because he has so much of his career ahead of him.
Perhaps in surpassing Schumacher's record he will unequivocally be regarded as a great.
For many, however, Vettel can’t be considered as Formula 1’s best driver until he faces a challenge.
Be it a challenge from a teammate or by moving to a lesser team, there is a school of thought that suggests he remains unproven.
But why should he change? Why should he prove himself? He’s done nothing wrong.
Sebastian Vettel is a winner. He won’t have it any other way.