With eight wins from the first 13 Formula 1 races of the 2011 season – and 10 pole positions in the same span – the few remaining doubters of Sebastian Vettel’s mastery of the driver’s art are on the defensive. But what has made
him such a complete grand prix driver in such a short stretch of time since his
debut in 2007? Here are six of the prime ingredients to his success.
If there is a secret weapon to Vettel’s speed, it’s his ability to live with rear
instability on corner entry, enabling him to carry a lot of speed in. His in-car
Valencia pole lap was a case study in this: turn in, catch, gather it up well before
the apex and then get back on the gas hard and early. Like Lewis Hamilton, Vettel
doesn’t need to lean on one end or the other; he’s quite relaxed about simply
reacting to whatever it does.
Other drivers – such as Jenson Button or Robert Kubica – derive their speed
by leaning very hard on the front of the car into the corner. They need a strong
Vettel and his Red Bull have left all rivals behind
in 2011, but the margin of superiority has led
some to discount the genius factor in his driving.