Horner: Vettel has got to be right up there with F1’s greatest drivers

Christian Horner and Sebastian Vettel celebrate victory in the Korean GP

Christian Horner and Sebastian Vettel celebrate victory in the Korean GP

Sebastian Vettel’s imminent fourth consecutive Formula 1 Drivers, World title will rank him among the sport’s greatest champions, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said after the race in Korea.

The 26-year-old’s Korean Grand Prix victory, his eighth in 14 races, left him potentially one week away from clinching the title – the next race is in Japan on Sunday – but Horner still preferred to talk of if, rather than when.

As far as the sport is concerned, the title is done and dusted.

Only two other drivers – Germany’s Michael Schumacher and the late Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio – have ever won four successive titles and Horner said people would have to put Vettel on a par with them.

“Should he achieve [winning four titles in a row], I think they will have to,” he told reporters. “He has got to be right up there. He has got to be,” added the Briton.

Sebastian Vettel on the podium after winning the Korean GP

Sebastian Vettel on the podium after winning the Korean GP

“The kind of level that he is performing at is unbelievable in many respects…what has been really impressive is that he has continued to develop, continued to grow as he has gained more experience.

“To have won the ratio of races that he has is quite remarkable.”

Having claimed a clutch of records including the youngest race winner, youngest champion and triple champion, the German would also be the youngest ever quadruple champion.

Vettel has 34 race wins to his credit, from 115 starts, and has dominated the last four, from Belgium to Italy, Singapore and now the southern tip of South Korea.

He won in Japan last year and rates it as his favourite circuit.

Despite the charge to the title, with a 77 point lead over Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso with five races remaining, Vettel and the British-based team have taken it one race at a time and stayed rigorously focused.

Sebastian Vettel won his 34th grand prix in Korea

Sebastian Vettel won his 34th grand prix and scored his third consecutive victory in Korea

Horner recognised however that winning four successive crowns would be a massive achievement.

“To win it in the first place was special and to defend it was remarkable,” he said. “And we never thought we could surpass the triple. If we get a fourth it would be something the whole team would be blown away by. It would be phenomenal.”

Vettel has enjoyed the best car on the grid, making the most of acclaimed designer Adrian Newey’s creations, but Horner said the youngster was also reaping the rewards for putting in the hard yards.

“He is only just 26 years of age but he works so hard at it,” he said. “What you guys don’t see is behind the scenes how much effort he puts into his preparation, his training.

“He is hugely self-critical. He is always looking at areas where he can improve, where he can be better.

“He’ll look at this race and look at things that he could be stronger in. It is that inward-looking that he has that keeps propelling and driving him forward. I think he has got the balance about right.” (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Tamburello_1994

    The only folks that will disagree with the reality will be the Hamilton and Alonso fans out there who feel Vettel is winning the titles they had envisioned their hero(s) winning.

    Racing is all about who finishes first – Period. Points aren’t awarded for what car you drive, who designed it, Who your teammate is, Degree of difficulty, being equal, Style, None of that crap matters. It’s all about winning – crossing that line – getting to the checkers first. That’s what it’s always been about.

    It’s a foregone conclusion Vettel will be ranked with the all time greats of the sport. He’s already achieved so much in so little time, It’s utterly absurd and a bit intellectually dishonest to say otherwise. The only question now is how much he re-writes the history books.

  • Colin

    Vettel is the real deal. Schumacher and Senna also had championship winning cars so please don’t start harping on about the best car. They are legends and so is Vettel, he will achieve ten world championships and will never be surpassed. Well done and good luck Vettel

  • Frijns for WDC

    Schumacher is no legend. he is an all-time cheater.

    As much as i dislike that pedant little Zzerman, at least he seems to be in fair cars (for most of the time)

    And toeboerelli.. it is YOUR foregone conclusion, dont always decide for others.. i know you like that.. but you should not.

  • famer

    What a load of crap, mr Horner. Mambo Jumbo, crap. On par with Scumacher and Fangio ? Definately, not on par with Senna, either. Statisticly this guy seems to be way ahead of the others but in pure brilliance he seems to lack. I’ve seen better. Wins from pole and no other rival insight doesn’t amuse me as a F1 fan. You need to fight for a win. You must be ignorant not realise the Red Bull is far a superior car than what the other rivals possess. There are better drivers on the grid that only have 1 or 2 championships to their name with. I rate them higher than Vettel.

  • farizY

    More bullshit on “winning from pole is the real deal”. I thought all race car drivers ever wanted is to be on pole and dominate races? It’s unfortunate if you have to do it from the back,but doing it from the front,does not make Vettel any lesser than those other guys. *I bet with Vettel’s pace in Singapore or even in Korea,he could have easily won them from the back of the pack.

  • Horner

    The only folks that will disagree with the reality that Tamburello_1994 is the dullest most self righteous commentator are his fans, i.e., his dog and Alonso_is_Slow.

  • Tamburello_1994

    “There are better drivers on the grid that only have 1 or 2 championships to their name with. I rate them higher than Vettel.”

    This is an prime example of Alonso / Hamilton / Raikonnen fans who are now desperately trying to redefine what winning is in order to justify their jealously with Vettel taking titles away from their idol(s).

    In particular with the Alonso crowd. All but sure the titles were on automatic at Maranello, Now find themselves trying to smear someone else’s achievements in order to make their guy look good. All because he’s been getting his ass handed to him four years straight by some kid and a energy drinks team.

  • f1fan

    Seb is a grate driver but not grate of all time.. he should win races where the car shoud not have won. Thats what schumi / senna did… They won so many reaces where their car should not have won the races…

  • jl

    i still do not understand why vettel should be from 10th row and finish 2nd to prove he is very fast. f1 competition start from qualifying, idiot. that’s what vettel does, push his right foot right from qualifying.

  • Tinto

    Best car and best driver always win. period! Fangio chased only best cars, more than that he swapped his car during the race when was damaged, very ethical indeed.

    If somebody else won in a dog car was a pathetic victory since the best that should have won did not.

    Mark these words, Vettel will be the best ever, if he continues this way, embrace for more. What he needs is a good car, common sense.

  • Red Bull Cheats

    Lance Armstrong was the best ever until his cheating was uncovered. Red Bull favor Vettel, he is 17kg lighter than Webber which makes a huge difference, and Marko makes sure Vettel gets every possible advantage. Red Bull didn’t take Kimi as he would have shown up Vettel. He is a cheat and a primadona who will never let a top driver join him in the team. Unlike Alonso who recommended Kimi to Ferrari.

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Who cares about sour Alonso and Hamilton fans. In 10 years time no one will even remember those comments.

    Vettel is making history.

    BTW. Hamlilton and Alonso will keep sucking each other’s dick only as long as they are not competing with each other. With their negative comments on Vettel all they do is show human weakness.

    In the meantime Seb is critical of himself, and does the right job.

    I am quite content with this.

  • Lotus is funny

    Vettel probably will go down the historybooks as a (or the most) succesful driver, i do feel that wont be considered the greatest driver, but it is personal.

    To me Jack Brabham is the greatest.. he designed, and build his own F1-car, and then went to drive it to a WDC himself. Thats greatness.

  • Tinto

    @Lotus is funny: Building a car for himself? That is impossible nowadays… Old good days are gone mate!

    My guess is Vettel has a surprise for us in his sleeves you may like it.

  • EazyE

    Vettel is a LEGEND in the making whether you chumps want to admit or not. I hated Schumi back in the day, especially with the rules and FIA backing Ferrari. To have such a career in a car owned by a drinks company and not the beloved Ferrari (who get $60 million a year just to be in F1) really says a lot. You’d agree if you weren’t so ignorant.

  • PB

    The constructors championship points acknowledges the car and team efforts. Vettel needs to prove himself at another team like many GREAT drivers have done in the past. Without a Newey designed car SV would not be vying for his 4th drivers crown. The car makes the driver.

  • harry harris

    yeah…yeah….yeah……. you damn right mr horner.

  • SteveO

    @PB so Schumi’s legacy is tainted because he didn’t leave Ferrari for Mclaren in the middle of his dynasty?


  • Bob Wheeler

    For the enlightenment of some of the dimmer whits here, Veteel has won from the back of the grid. Don’t forget that he needed to finish 6th or better to take his last WDC. As the result of being plowed into, he ended up dead last and fought to 6th place with a damaged car. Just stop your ignorant rants and give the man his due.