There must be something in the water in Germany as Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to win five consecutive races this weekend since Michael Schumacher did so nine years ago.
In possibly his most hard-fought victory of the season, Vettel had to put in an extreme amount of effort for his latest victory in Suzuka, Japan, although the drivers’ championship still evades him.
With a lead of 90 points now built up, Vettel will almost certainly win a fourth consecutive title in India in a fortnight’s time, with a finish of fifth or higher good enough to see him over the line.
Fernando Alonso has been consistent all season and keeps the leader within mathematical reach thanks to another fourth-place finish, but he is swiftly veering out of range.
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:26:49.301||25|
|2||Mark Webber||Red Bull||+7.129 Sec||18|
|3||Romain Grosjean||Lotus||+9.910 Sec||15|
|4||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||+45.605 Sec||12|
|5||Kimi Raikkonen||Lotus||+47.325 Sec||10|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber||+51.615 Sec||8|
|7||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber||+1:11.630 Sec||6|
His fifth successive win—the Japanese Grand Prix—showed that, whether he receives boos and taunts from some sections of the crowd or not, Vettel is indeed a worthy champion in Formula One.
After all, they say the sign of a good champion is one who can win while not necessarily at his or her best, and the performance from the reigning champion was nowhere near as dominant as we’ve seen in the past.
Does Vettel deserve a fourth championship?
Behind Vettel was Red Bull teammate Mark Webber, while Romain Grosjean claimed the final podium place in third. The 26-year-old victor showcased his superb talent with a vital pass on Grosjean that would eventually seal the win in Suzuka, while Webber was forced to wait until the penultimate lap for his pass.
Meanwhile, it was a far more miserable day for Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire thanks to rear bodywork damage caused by an early clip with Vettel that led to a puncture, and Nico Rosberg saw similarly bad luck after being penalised for an unsafe release at the pit stop.
Over recent months, Vettel has had somewhat of a love-hate effect on the population, with audiences tending to either adore him for the evidently vast skills he displays so regularly or loathe him for the dominance with which he goes about his business.
Twitter was on hand to give some insight into what the world thought of the German’s latest triumph.
Alan Dunn and Mike Dickson feel that the German’s monopoly is getting somewhat boring these days:
Love watching F1 coverage on both channels and marvelling at their valiant attempts to make another Vettel victory sound exciting.— Andy Dunn (@AndyDunn_SM) October 13, 2013
Surely about time F1 brought in some gobbledygook new rules to stop Vettel winning. It's getting bad for business.— Mike Dickson (@Mike_Dickson_DM) October 13, 2013
While Mindy Pawsey had an “alternative” view as to how Vettel’s reign might be overcome:
Jake Humphrey wasn’t pulling any punches when it came to Hamilton’s unfortunate race, either:
Go back to bed Hamilton fans...— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) October 13, 2013
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||297|
As previously mentioned, the Suzuka meeting showed precisely why Vettel is the domineering force of Formula One that he is right now. If a world championship victory does come about as predicted in India, it’s only what’s deserved after a tremendous season for the European stalwart.
After an incredibly poor start, including the front-wing damage sustained by the contact with Hamilton, great driving from the likes of Grosjean, Webber, Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen simply left other teams wondering what they must do to turn fortunes against the Hoffenheim hulk.
With that answer still an enigma to most, we now head to Greater Noida with a good idea of just how things will play out and only one name being considered as the nest world champion.