Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Mike Tyson, Cristiano Ronaldo and Tom Brady – these athletes all have one thing in common; they are all among the best and greatest of all time at what they do. German Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel certainly deserves a place among them.
Most motor racing fans know him as the reigning four-time world champion from 2010 to 2013, but his success is far from what it seems. The German racing driver had quite an interesting career that spanned over a decade and a half. There was a time when he was one of the most hated people on the grid, but slowly he grew up with the people and became one of the most beloved people in the sport of all time!
On July 28, 2022, we received stunning news when the German driver announced his retirement from the sport. This means the 2022 Formula 1 season with Aston Martin will be his last. As we all take a little time to assimilate the whole Sebastian Vettel retires from F1 news, let’s celebrate his life and career with 10 interesting and obviously quick facts about one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time.
ten His childhood was not ordinary
Sebastian Vettel was born on July 3, 1987 in Heppenheim, Germany. At 4 years old, Seb started amateur karting. Four years later, he was racing in different Kart series at the age of 8. Apparently, he wasn’t very good at academics.
Growing up, he idolized three different Michaels: Jordan, Jackson, and finally Schumacher. He even wanted to become a singer like Michael Jackson but realized that his voice was not good enough to be a singer.
9 He’s not the only racing driver in his family
Sebastian is one of four children of German couple Norbert and Heike Vettel. He has two sisters: Stefanie and Melanie, and a younger brother, Fabian. Fabian is a racing driver himself, inspired by the exploits of his older brother.
Just like Seb, Fabian started with karting, but he took a different approach for the later stages of his racing career. Fabian has had a successful career in Esports racing and is now looking to do the same with real racing.
8 He was in the race since his childhood
As we mentioned, German motor racing legend Michael Schumacher was an idol of Seb growing up. This, coupled with his natural racing skills, has seen him win many races from the start. In fact, he once had to face bullies who smashed his racing trophies out of jealousy! But he kept going, eventually winning the 2004 German Formula BMW championship with 18 of 20 races won.
Before starting his career in Formula 1, Seb took part in the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2005. There he finished 5th overall and was awarded the title of best rookie of the year. As a result, he was able to test the Williams FW27 Formula 1 car.
seven His start to his F1 career foreshadowed his eventual success
In 2006, the 18-year-old German icon officially started his career in Formula 1 with BMW Sauber. He became the youngest driver on the grid when he competed in FP2 of the Italian Grand Prix.
In 2007 he was leading the Formula Renault 3.5 Series when he got a permanent position in the sport. Then he joined the Toro Rosso team and started performing better than the team average before his arrival. He won his first race at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix at 21.
6 His glory days with Red Bull
In 2009, something historic happened; Sebastian Vettel joined Red Bull Racing, and we all know what happened next. He surprised everyone by finishing the season in second place behind Jenson Button. The following year he won the championship by just 4 points and secured Red Bull a constructors’ championship in the process.
After that, it’s safe to say he was in the same league as his hero Michael Schumacher winning another 3 consecutive championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013. His streak ended in 2014 when he could only manage fifth.
5 His position with Ferrari proved to be a turning point
At this point in his career, many people disliked or even hated Sebastian simply because he had won most of the races. But we saw a different person when he put on the Ferrari Red. We saw a more mature driver who didn’t rub people the wrong way as much as before. He was already one of the greatest, and he no longer had anything to prove to anyone.
We saw Seb paired with the one and only Kimi Räikkönen and become a wise mentor to then-rookie Charles Leclerc. Although he didn’t win any more championships, he did quite well and got several second places just behind Lewis Hamilton.
4 The last years of his career with Aston Martin were difficult
Vettel has signed with Aston Martin for the 2021 season and has taken on the responsibility of taking the team to new levels of success. He got them a podium at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but he needed to bring out the best in him and his years of experience for consistent wins.
But after that, we unfortunately only saw a glimpse of its best performance in the AMR21 and AMR22 cars. We sometimes get a delicious surprise from Vettel during a qualifying session or a race, but with an emphasis on “occasionally”.
3 Her friendship with Michael and Mick Schumacher is heart-warming
Micheal was Seb’s hero who became his friend when they were on the grid at the same time. They became very close to each other and their families. Michael’s son Mick Schumacher started his Formula 1 career in 2021.
But Michael has sadly not been in the public eye since his life-threatening skiing accident in 2012. So Sebastian became the best person to mentor his friend and idol son, creating a cool mentorship line between the three gentlemen.
2 His activism and general off-track philanthropy are notable
These days, people respect and love Sebastian Vettel for bringing important social and environmental issues to light over the past few years. We can see him being a genuine, down-to-earth guy picking up trash, riding his bike to the track, and being friendly and fun with people.
Vettel said that as he got older he felt he had a responsibility to shed light on various issues in the world. He says human rights and climate change are bigger issues than anything else. He even wears T-shirts that highlight these concerns rather than wearing endorsement products that will make him richer.
1 What is the next step for him after his retirement?
For a man who has nothing to prove to anyone, who has the wealth, the resources and the will to do whatever he wants to do, it’s certainly hard to guess what Sebastian Vettel is going to do next. It’s the end of an era, and the news of his retirement from F1 is still overwhelming for many of us. In his recent interview, he mentioned something along the lines of spending more time with family first, which is understandable.
He hasn’t left racing in another motorsport out of the question, but he’s made sure it’s not something he’ll do right away once the season is over. Whatever he plans to do, we can only hope to see him more and wish him luck in the new chapter of his life.