Vettel is the pick of F1 pack, admits Schumacher

German tips compatriot to win this weekend after bad luck in season's first two races

Impressive but unlucky so far this season, Sebastian Vettel is the man to watch out for this weekend. That's the view of Michael Schumacher, who believes his compatriot should have already won two races this season.

"If you ask me about a rival who stands out, it is him," Schumacher said. "If you look at the car he has and the way he's driving, he is the driver who's going to be the biggest threat. Of course he didn't have luck in the first two races. But if it went right, he would have won both."

Vettel lost the Bahrain GP because of a faulty spark plug, and the Australian race because of a suspected wheel fixing problem, both times after leading from pole position. But he said yesterday that he has no worries about his Red Bull's reliability and was more worried about a new clarification on the rules governing siting of the rear-view mirrors. "We are much more concerned that from the next race, in China, we'll all have to run the mirrors inboard and our car is losing quite some performance due to that," Vettel said. "But reliability, no problems."

"He's in a strange situation," Jenson Button, who expects McLaren to be competing for victory this weekend, said of his rival. "He will be disappointed that his car isn't reliable, because taking pole position and leading races is a great feeling until the car breaks. In the last two races the Red Bull has had an advantage over the Ferrari, which has an advantage over us, in qualifying. But as we showed in Australia, our race pace is pretty close.

"It's really given the people at the factory a push, winning there, and that makes it very special for us. If we can keep nibbling away at that advantage that Red Bull and Ferrari have, then we are going to be on them pretty quickly."

Button won last year's rain-spoiled race after a monsoon began before half-distance. This year the race will start an hour earlier to try to avoid the wettest time of the day. As very heavy rain fell at twenty minutes past five here last night, Button added: "This feels exactly like the weather we had in 2009! That was pretty horrendous, but if it rains at the same stage this year we will have covered 75 per cent of the race. If we'd done that last year I would have earned 10 instead of five points and it would have made my life much easier!"

Button, in common with team-mate Lewis Hamilton, Vettel and Fernando Alonso, said that their cars were undriveable in torrential rain. "The boys told me to come round to the pits and stop last year," the world champion said. "But even at 10 mph my car was sliding around so much that I told them I couldn't be sure of making it."

All of the drivers would rather have a dry race, notwithstanding the fact that the shower before the start in Melbourne made the race far more interesting than the season opener in Bahrain. But Button said that he did not agree with Alonso's suggestion that there has not been any overtaking in Formula One for the last twenty years and that people seeking it should look elsewhere for their thrills.

"I agree with Fernando when he says that we are driving missiles and that much of F1's charm lies in that," Button said, "but I disagree with his comment that there hasn't been any overtaking. I think there was quite a lot last year, and in Melbourne.

"This is a track here on which you can overtake, because you can race and fight it out. The circuit flows nicely, and there are two nice long straights and a couple of slow corners leading on to them, which is what you want.

"If you have overtaking on every corner it would be boring, but as it is when you see a move in F1 you respect it because you know how difficult it is."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing