The German who loves 'Little Britain'
Monday 15 September 2008
So who is Sebastian Vettel, F1's youngest-ever polesitter and now its youngest-ever winner?
Born in Heppenheim, Germany, on 3 July 1987, he is fast becoming one of the true characters of a sport that has in recent years been accused of lacking any.
Vettel (right) has a very British sense of humour, for a start, which extends to comedy shows such as Little Britain, The League of Gentlemen and Monty Python. He once inadvertently offended one veteran of the sport by suggesting that she reminded him of the David Walliams Little Britain character Anne.
He made his Formula One race debut with BMW Sauber in the 2007 US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, substituting for Robert Kubica who had crashed heavily in the previous weekend's race in Canada, and scored a point for eighth place. Subsequently, he took over the American driver Scott Speed's seat at Toro Rosso, for whom he still drives. Next year, however, he joins Mark Webber at the sister team Red Bull Racing as David Coulthard's replacement.
Prior to that, Vettel cut his teeth as BMW Sauber's test driver. When he took part in the Friday practice session for the Turkish GP in 2006 he became the youngest F1 driver to take part in a Grand Prix meeting, at the age of 19 years and 53 days. More records followed. When he led the 2007 Japanese race briefly last September, he became the youngest driver ever to lead a Grand Prix. At Indianapolis, he had also set a record for the fastest fine, when he was hit with a $1,000 penalty for pit-lane speeding nine seconds into the meeting.
"To be honest, records are not really important to me," he admits. "I think there was a youngest before, and at some point there will be a younger after me. I don't really care about statistics. It's more important to be on pole position and start the race from there, and now to win. It's a great result for us, a great success. I'm very, very happy, as you can imagine."
After the aloofness of Michael Schumacher, Vettel's almost schoolboyish pleasure at his new-found success is proving very popular in F1 circles, as is his honesty. In Japan last year he took out Webber when they were running behind Lewis Hamilton and the safety car. "I apologise to Mark because maybe his last wet race he would have won in Japan if I had kept my eyes open!" he admitted after taking pole position here.
The muddy truth of the Christmas Truce game
Alexis Sanchez video: Turns out the Arsenal forward is brilliant at playing the piano too
Premier League: Chelsea vs West Ham match preview
Sir Alex Ferguson on Jose Mourinho: 'He's good looking, speaks five languages, wins everything - it's unfair'
Documentary recalling Crazy Gang's 'thuggery' has Dave Bassett up in arms
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 4 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 5 New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'