Formula 1 – Will Sebastian Vettel ever win his fifth championship?

Formula 1 – Will Sebastian Vettel ever win his fifth championship?


Four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel has not won a championship since he drove for Red Bull Racing in the 2013 season. Will he ever win his fifth career title?

Entering the 2010 Formula 1 season, a 22-year-old Sebastian Vettel had spent two seasons competing full-time in Formula 1. After driving part-time for Sauber and Scuderia Toro Rosso in the 2007 season, he drove full-time for Toro Rosso in the 2008 season before driving full-time for Red Bull Racing in the 2009 season.

Vettel entered the 2010 season having finished in second place in the driver standings in his first season driving for Red Bull Racing, as it was Brawn’s Jenson Button who won the 2009 championship.

Second place would be Vettel’s lowest finish until the 2014 season.

In the 19-race 2010 season, Vettel won five races en route to winning the championship by four points (256 to 252) over Scuderia Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. He became the youngest driver to ever win a Formula 1 championship by doing so, as he won it at the age of 23 years and 134 days.

Vettel won his second consecutive championship in the 19-race 2011 season with what was just the third 10-win season in Formula 1 history. He became the first driver aside of Michael Schumacher to win at least 10 races in a season, as he won 11 race en route to winning the championship by a huge 122-point margin (392 to 270) over Button, who drove for McLaren at the time.

In the 2012 season, Vettel won another close championship battle over Alonso, as he beat him by just three points (281 to 278) after winning five of the season’s 20 races.

Vettel tied the single-season wins record in the 2013 season by winning 13 of the season’s 19 races en route to winning his fourth consecutive championship. He held off Alonso by 155 points (397 to 242).

But in the 2014 season, the first season of the V6 turbo hybrid era, Vettel finished in fifth place in the driver standings and failed to win a single race. Meanwhile, his new teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, won three races en route to a third place finish in the standings.

The following season, Vettel began driving for Ferrari, the team that he has driven for even since and has a contract to drive for through the 2020 season. He finished in third and fourth place in the driver standings in the 2015 season and 2016 season, respectively, before finishing in second behind Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s Lewis Hamilton in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Mercedes have been dominant since the start of the V6 turbo hybrid era, as their drivers have combined to win each of the five championships since it began and they are on pace to win their fifth consecutive constructor championship. However, it is no secret that Ferrari have made steady gains on the Brackley-based team, especially over the course of the last two seasons.

But particularly after this season, which has featured Ferrari having a speed advantage over Mercedes in speed in more races than not, the question has to be asked: will Vettel ever win his fifth championship?

The 31-year-old German started off the 2018 season in prime position to pull it off. However, after winning the season’s first two races, wins have been hard to come by for him. Mistakes, however, have not been.

You could make the case that Vettel has singlehandedly thrown away what has been his best opportunity yet to win his fifth career championship. After all, his late crash while leading the German Grand Prix, which is one of many errors that he has made this season, resulted in a 38-point swing in favor of Hamilton in itself.

Hamilton, who has already clinched the 2018 driver championship, leads Vettel in the driver standings by 64 points with two races remaining on the schedule. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s season has been almost mistake-free.

Will Vettel ever be able to overcome his proneness to mistakes and join Hamilton on the five-time Formula 1 champions list, which features only Hamilton, five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher?

It would be foolish to rule Vettel out. Yes, he has caved under pressure quite frequently throughout the 2018 season, and yes, Hamilton has won four championships since Vettel has last won one.

But it isn’t like Vettel is a choker. He is, after all, a four-time Formula 1 champion, something only four other drivers have ever been able to say. Plus, Ferrari’s improvements have put them right below if not on Mercedes’ level, so just a tad bit more consistency out of him may be exactly what he needs to become a five-time champion.

That said, there may be more drivers for Vettel to deal with as far as competing to win future championships is concerned. In fact, it would be shocking if Hamilton continues to be Vettel’s only true championship competitor in future seasons.

Red Bull Racing believe that their impending switch from Renault engines to Honda engines can make them a championship team as early as next season, and 2007 Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen, who has been Vettel’s teammate ever since Vettel arrived at Ferrari, is set to be replaced by the up-and-coming Charles Leclerc, who many people believe is a future Formula 1 champion, beginning in 2019.

Can Vettel overcome what could become a far more competitive field over the next few seasons than it has been in recent seasons and win his fifth career Formula 1 championship? Don’t rule it out, but don’t consider it something that is extremely likely to occur.

Next: Top 10 Formula 1 drivers of all-time

 

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Do you believe that Sebastian Vettel will ever become a five-time Formula 1 champion, or will he retire having won only the four championships that he earned from the 2010 season through the 2013 season?

If you believe that Vettel will eventually win his fifth career Formula 1 championship, in which season do you believe he will pull it off to join Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton on the short list of drivers who have won at least five titles?



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