Sebastian Vettel: 'I'm not patient, but I still believe I can win with Red Bull'

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Sebastian Vettel, currently the fastest man in Formula One, tells David Tremayne why he is convinced his team will come good

There is a contradiction about Sebastian Vettel, the young man in a hurry who is not in a rush. The unGerman German and the new Michael Schumacher who could not be more different to the grand old man of Formula One.

He is currently the fastest man in F1, the favourite to win the title, yet he is only fifth in the points table. He should have won all four races thus far this year, yet has only one victory to his credit. He should, many say, already be a world champion.

Vettel could be an angry young man. But the 23-year-old does not come across that way, instead he is affable, interesting, possessor of a distinctly Anglophile sense of humour and a penchant for Little Britain and Monty Python, the Beatles and Rolling Stones.

"I am not very patient," he says. "When I started karting I was kind of addicted to it. I wanted to do it again and again. I wanted to be quicker than everyone else. I was attracted by the speed itself, but also by the challenge of being faster than everybody else. Whenever I have to do something, I try to minimise the time it takes me to do it. I just cannot wait.

"Some people say it is because I am a German and I am always pushing. But I am not in a rush. I always try to do things as quickly as possible, but I take my time." There is an intensity about him – as there is with most sports people from the highest echelon – so what presses his buttons. "Generally I have my feelings quite under control," he says. "I would say that I am naturally happy. I am not angry. I enjoy what I am doing. I love Formula One, but there are some things that make me angry – if things do not go according to my wishes or plans. It's difficult to highlight one thing."

He pauses. "I can't stand traffic," he suggests. "I don't like queuing very much. I am not very German like that. Maybe that comes from being impatient. I cannot wait for things to happen. If I want to do something then I want to do it now. If I want to go somewhere, I want to go there now."

Perhaps the most telling comment is when he admits: "There are a few things that make me angry. Mostly things not going my way."

There has been much that has gone his way over the last three years. In the summer of 2007, Vettel became the youngest man to take part in a Grand Prix weekend, as the third driver with BMW Sauber. He immediately broke another record: nine seconds into his F1 career he was fined $1000 for speeding in the pitlane. Then he became the youngest driver to score points in a Grand Prix; the youngest to lead a race; the youngest to take a pole; and, at Monza in 2008, the youngest ever to win a grand prix.

His break came at Indianapolis in 2007, after Robert Kubica's accident the previous week in Canada. The doctors ruled Kubica out of the United States GP and Vettel did a competent, if unspectacular, job, scoring a point for eighth. Red Bull came knocking, and as Kubica returned Vettel was signed up to join Tonio Liuzzi at Toro Rosso.

He struggled to match the Italian's pace in Budapest, Istanbul, Monza and Spa, never escaping the lower midfield pack. But in the rain at Fuji in the Japanese GP the run of luck began. He was running third behind Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber, behind a safety car. People took notice, even when he got caught out as the field went back and forth like a concertina because the safety car was too slow, and he took out Red Bull stablemate Webber. Instant black mark. But next time out in China the cards fell for him, and he bounced back with fourth place, the team's best performance of the year. Suddenly, everyone was saying good things again about him.

After outperforming French team-mate Sébastien Bourdais in 2008 he looked stronger than perhaps he really was. But it was he who scored the crucial first victory for the Red Bull brand – at Monza. It was a superb performance. He was 21 years and 74 days old, almost a year younger than Fernando Alonso had been when he took his first F1 victory. He was the new Schuey. Red Bull's golden boy.

2009 began with a strong showing in Australia, where he fought Kubica for second before he collided with the Pole in an impetuous moment and tried to drag his three-wheeled car home. But, again in China, he made amends with a stunning victory in the wet. There were more, in Silverstone Suzuka and Abu Dhabi.

"I'm very happy here at Red Bull," he says. "I like the people, I am enjoying it and on top of that what is most important is that we have a winning car. I believe in the team. We have the right people on board and we have great potential."

Vettel grew up in Heppenheim, a pretty town in Hesse in the south-west of Germany. He began by racing karts, inspired, of course, by Schumacher, the man with whom he is inevitably compared.

"It was a different time," he says of Schumacher's prime. "He is a different person and it is so difficult to compare everything. If you compare all the drivers nowadays Michael is a bit higher than them and one of the best ever seen. A legend. And he well deserves to be in that position. I have a very long way to go."

The planned first stop of that journey is top of the podium in Barcelona tomorrow. So far three pole positions have converted into one win due mainly to reliability issues. He insists the championship is still his target. "I think I am in the wrong place if I don't believe in us and in myself. Yes, the first four races were a bit up and down. We had only one win but in the end that's history, we can't change it any more."

The humour soon surfaces when he is asked to quantify the changes Red Bull have made for Spain. "I had a haircut. I saw Fernando had one to. I dropped more than he did, so I hope that our car will make a bigger step than his and we can stay ahead..."

More than anything, he is a racer with his feet firmly on the ground. "I don't consider myself to be famous," he says. "Politicians are famous. Presidents. Kings. Queens. I think that with the way I grew up and the way I live I have no reason to start to fly high.

"When I grew up I was always told that as long as you have something to eat, you are healthy, and you have a roof over your head, then it is fine. There are some things that you can fulfil with money, but at the end of the day these are not the things that make you happy. It is the small things that make life good. I am sure that you can ask most of the drivers about the things they remember and it will not be when they got a large cheque and went to the bank, but it would be things like at Monza in 2008. The emotion of standing on the podium seeing the joy in the team and the faces. Those things stay with you forever and they make you happy."

And, as he intends to remind people this weekend, he is also a winner.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil