Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

2009 championship contender - Sebastian Vettel - The young German fights for his first title victory

Published by Christine

It's been a season long battle between Red Bull and Brawn GP, but now that we are down to the final three drivers fighting for the title, there is only room for one RBR driver. At the start of the season, this would have been an easy prediction to make, with Webber still recovering from off-season leg injuries. However, it hasn't been a straight foward fight for Vettel, and he's still got a lot of work to do.

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The pressure has been on for Vettel since the very start of his season. Faced with such a positive review from Toro Rosso, heralded as the next multi-world champion by many, and shouldering all the testing responsibility himself, Seb has been treading unchartered territory in 2009. He's handled it well, continuing to maintain his upbeat attitude and only letting the occasional inter-team challenge get him down. The team clearly have a lot of faith in him, and have signed him up until 2011.

Results-wise, it wasn't exactly a great start to the year, but Vettel was soon fulfilling his promise. In China, he took his first win of the year, his first win for Red Bull, and more importantly, their maiden victory. Webber stood beside him on the podium. This must have boosted Seb's confidence again, and definitely took the edge off notching up two non-scoring finishes in the first two races.

It hasn't been a very consistent season for Vettel, but he does seem to have made the most of it. He has scored two other victories, in Britain and at the last race in Japan. He's been on the podium a further four times, and when he hasn't retired from a race, he's been mostly in the points. Of the three retirements, only one could be attributed to driver error.

For the next two races, then, he's in a good position to dent the gap between himself and the Brawns. He is already close behind Barrichello, although Button is much further ahead with a 16 point lead over Vettel. He needs two brilliant weekends to make it work, but that is not out of the question. He'll have the momentum of a win behind him, but it all depends on the car. The engine is the weak point of Red Bull this year, and Vettel will miss out on some important Friday running at the next two weekends. It hasn't harmed him too much yet this year, but at the brand new Abu Dhabi, practice could be crucial.

In terms of championship material, I personally think Vettel is a bit young to start driving the number one car. Almost everyone is sure that he will win titles, and a few of them, but would it be too much too soon? Plus, there is the fact that if Vettel can overturn his points deficit and take the championship this year, the pressure would really be on for 2010.