Vettel can match Schumacher, says Berger
Tuesday 16 September 2008
Gerhard Berger, the former grand prix driver who is the co-owner of the Toro Rosso team that celebrated their first victory at Monza on Sunday, says he has no doubt that Sebastian Vettel can follow in the footsteps of illustrious fellow German Michael Schumacher and become a multiple world champion.
Vettel surprised everyone by taking pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, and then going on to dominate a race in which the championship contenders Robert Kubica, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton could finish only third, sixth and seventh respectively.
Berger won this same race for Ferrari 20 years ago to the week. That day, only seven after the legendary team founder Enzo Ferrari had died, Ayrton Senna tripped over backmarker Jean-Louis Schelsser and thereby McLaren failed to make a clean sweep of the season's 16 races. Berger, who later partnered Senna at McLaren, says he believes Vettel has similar qualities to the Brazilian, whom many still rate as the best driver ever seen in Formula One.
"Sebastian proved today he can win races," Berger said to autosport.com. "But he is going to win world championships. He is very good."
Berger won his own first grand prix with Benetton-BMW in Mexico in 1986, and went on to win races for Ferrari, McLaren and Benetton again on his return to that fold. Later, when he had retired as a driver, he experienced victory as part of the Williams-BMW team. But he said that winning as a team owner was an entirely new experience. "It's an unbelievable feeling," he said. "We've been extremely lucky to have the support of Red Bull for the basics of the car – it helps a lot. We have been building a nice little team."
The team manager Franz Tost said: "This was Vettel's race weekend. From Friday onwards he controlled the pace and the situation and today, from start to finish, he drove a fantastic race without any mistakes under very difficult circumstances.
"The team, under the direction of Giorgio Ascanell, also did a fantastically good job in terms of being prepared for the race and in how it executed the strategy and pit stops, and we can all be proud of what we have achieved. It was great to get this result here in Monza in our home grand prix and I am particularly happy for Gerhard, who has waited 20 years to get back on the Monza podium as a winner."
The veteran German motor sports writer Achim Schlang also predicts a big future for Vettel. "With Michael, he could speak well one-to-one, but the moment he tried to talk in public it was like the Russian chancellor. Sebastian is like a man who has been coached by a Hollywood producer. He is so lucid and so sharing with his emotions, that he is a breath of fresh air for Formula One. I think we will be hearing a lot more from him."
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant