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Sebastian Vettel

Formula 1 driver

Sebastian Vettel
Credit: Getty
Vital statistics for Sebastian Vettel
NationalityDEU
BirthplaceHeppenheim, Hesse, West Germany
Born3 July 1987
Age27
F1 debutUS Grand Prix, 2007
Driver number1
Current teamInfiniti Red Bull Racing
Recent fastest laps
2014Spanish Grand Prix
2013United States Grand Prix
South Korean Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel is the current Formula One World Champion, having won the title four years in a row. He has broken records at every step for becoming the youngest driver to achieve each feat, and a quadruple consecutive champion is only the latest. After showing promising early signs at Toro Rosso, the German was promoted to the Red Bull team, with whom he created a dominant force in the sport. Early 2014 signs show they may struggle this season to make it five out of five.

F1 biography

Sebastian Vettel began karting seriously at the age of eight, and continued until 2003. Having joined the Red Bull junior team, he had already paved the way for his path to Formula One, and one of the first steps was the German Formula BMW series, which he won at the first time of asking. The win gave him the opportunity to test a Williams and a further test with BMW Sauber.

In 2006, Vettel drove the F3 Euroseries and Formula Renault 3.5, but he was also signed to BMW Sauber as third driver. He impressed with fast times in testing, and was re-signed for the following season. In 2007, Vettel made his F1 debut, deputising for Robert Kubica at the US Grand Prix. He finished eighth, becoming the youngest driver to score an F1 point. When Kubica returned, Vettel still wanted to race, and he was released from his BMW Sauber contract to join Toro Rosso.

In 2008, despite being in an underperforming car, Sebastian Vettel took pole position and the victory at the Italian Grand Prix. That secured his promotion to the Red Bull team, with whom he made his debut in 2009, partnered with Mark Webber. In China, he secured the team’s first pole position and race win, setting yet more “youngest driver” records.

Vettel continued at Red Bull in 2010, and at the Turkish Grand Prix, the first of many teammate incidents occurred. Webber and Vettel collided, knocking Sebastian from the race, but neither driver accepted the blame for the accident. Later in the season, parts were taken from Webber’s car to give to Vettel, which didn’t help their relationship. For Sebastian, it was all in a good cause as he won the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi and took the championship at the final event.

Vettel and Red Bull dominated the 2011 season, despite the FIA’s attempts to clamp down on regulation loopholes that were helping the team get ahead. Vettel became the youngest double world champion in Japan, with four races left still to run. He followed it up by winning the championship in 2012 as well, albeit not quite in such a dominant fashion.

For the 2013 season, the relationship between Webber and Vettel would take a nosedive that it would never recover from. Vettel ignored a specific team order at the second race of the year, overtaking Webber for the win. It turned out to be an unnecessary move for the German, too, as he went on to win the last nine races of the year and secure his fourth consecutive world championship. Needless to say, he’s the youngest driver to achieve that feat. Vettel remains with Red Bull for the 2014 season, partnered now with Daniel Ricciardo.

Learn more about Sebastian Vettel with the Pocket F1 Handbook.