One of the knocks here at F1B about Sebastian Vettel is that he hasn’t won anything from off the front row. Yes, we recognize the kid is quick, but his race craft and passing ability have been pretty open questions. (According to some, but not all of us.)
At the British Grand Prix, thanks to his tire puncture and then the timely safety car, Vettel got a chance to show his ability to get by other drivers. Now, passing an HRT or a Lotus in a Red Bull might not mean much, but he did get by Michael Schumacher and then Adrian Sutil in cars that are at least relatively competitive.
Here’s Vettel on his race:
Sebastian Vettel: Well, yes, you could put it this way. But naturally the cars in the back of the grid are so much slower that overtaking almost comes naturally. What else can I say? We could have won today with both cars – not only with one – and it didnâ€™t work out. When I had that puncture on lap one I had to crawl back to the pits endlessly slowly which catapulted me to last place. Only the safety-car phase in the middle of the race helped me to gain ground, but at that time the car was already a bit damaged so there was a performance loss and in the end more was simply not possible. The only good thing was that after the safety car the race got more fun for me as I started to fight for points and positions.
Q: Putting the result aside, you were engaged in some good fights that must have pleased the fans to watch. Cold comfort for you?
SV: Yes, that was the fun part of the race. My fight with Adrian Sutil was very tough as I think that the Force India is the fastest car on the straight – something in the range of 10km/h faster – so it was not possible for me to overtake him on the straight and unfortunately we touched. Sure, that was in no way intentional and there is nothing more to say about it.
(By the way, here’s Sutil on that pass: “But we managed it and there were some really good fights with Schumacher and then Vettel. It was good racing and I defended my position well against Vettel until the final lap, but then he just seemed to drive into me and I lost the racing line and had to move over. Otherwise I don’t think he would have got past me.”)
Your View: Did Vettel show you anything that improved your opinion of his driving?