Horner: Sebastian stepped up another gear and what he’s done is mind blowing

Christian Horner is full of admiration for his driver Sebastian Vettel

Christian Horner is full of admiration for his driver Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel’s remarkable run of seven Grand Prix wins in a row may be even more impressive than Michael Schumacher’s similar streak back in 2004, according to his Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Vettel, already the sport’s youngest quadruple World Champion at 26 years old, was utterly dominant in Abu Dhabi on Sunday as he chalked up his seventh successive victory with almost embarrassing ease.

No driver in the modern era has won more than seven in a row, and Schumacher and Vettel are the only drivers ever to have done so in a single season.

Italian Alberto Ascari racked up nine consecutive victories but that was over the course of the 1952 and 1953 seasons – when the calendar had a fraction of the number of races seen today.

“The times are very different,” Horner said when asked to compare Vettel’s achievement with Schumacher’s success at Ferrari.

Victory in Abu Dhabi was Sebastian Vettel's 11th of the season

Victory in Abu Dhabi was Sebastian Vettel’s 11th of the season

“We’re all on a standard tyre now, there’s no testing, we’re limited on the amount of engines we can have, the amount of wind tunnel time and so on.

“So it’s a much more even playing field [now]. It’s always difficult to compare generations with generations but the level at which he’s performing, I don’t have words to describe how phenomenal it is. It’s just truly impressive,” added Horner.

Vettel finished more than 30 seconds ahead of team mate Mark Webber in Abu Dhabi, the best benchmark of performance given that the Australian was in an identical car and had started on pole position.

He had been 40 seconds clear of the rest at his second pitstop.

Under the Singapore floodlights in September, the German’s most dominant win of 2013 before Sunday, he had taken the chequered flag 32.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

In India, he won 29.8 seconds clear of second placed Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes.

Christian Horner with Sebastian Vettel during preseason testing

Christian Horner with Sebastian Vettel during preseason testing

“It was absolutely mind-blowing in many respects. After the start, Seb just got his head down and disappeared,” said Horner of  the latest display of supremacy in Abu Dhabi.

In 2011, Vettel won 11 races – a number he has matched already this year with two rounds remaining – and is now on course to equal Schumacher’s 2004 record of 13 victories in a season.

“It’s just truly dominant, he has just hit a patch of form that is incredible. We know Mark Webber is a very fine racing driver and in a race that didn’t have any Safety Cars or any issues, to achieve what he’s done is quite mind blowing,” said Horner.

“I think [that] Sebastian’s just stepped up another gear.”

While others have struggled to get the most out of the tricky Pirelli tyres, or at least make them last, Vettel seems to have unlocked their secrets more than anyone else – even if he denied that there was any great mystery.

Sebastian Vettel with Christian Horner during the press conference in July 2008 that the German would be a Red Bull driver starting in 2009

Sebastian Vettel with Christian Horner during the press conference in July 2008 announcing that the German would be a Red Bull driver starting in 2009

The tyres, he said, remained difficult to drive because of their extreme sensitivity but it helped to lead from the front and have clean air.

“Somehow we got the hang of it,” he said. “More and more so towards the end of the year. And looking after [the tyres], really listening to them and being able to extract maybe a little more performance than the other guys.”

The comparisons with compatriot Schumacher have followed him throughout his career but the numbers tell only part of the story.

“The thing is that people see seven races. People don’t see the challenge it takes [at] every single race to nail it,” said Vettel.

Webber, who has been on pole in two of the last three races but has yet to win a race this season, knows what it takes and recognised that his team mate was simply ‘in another category’.

“I think he’s in a sweet spot, for sure,” he said. (Reuters)

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  • captain tortuga

    Bwuahh.. Mister Horners wants us to believe that it is 80% Vettel, and 20% newey&co..

    But the reality of course is, that it is 95% newey&Co and 5% Vettel.
    It would be very naive to think that in an environment such as F1 , one driver would be like 1-2sec a lap faster than other drivers.. This is 100% the car.

    And for sure he is a very good driver, and he is in ‘the zone’ but also for sure, the best parts go to Vettel’s car, the best engineers work on Vettel’s car, the best strategies are applied to Vettel’s car.
    And for sure he has ‘earned’ that advantage, but it can’t be shuffed under the carpet. 100% that, if there is two parts, of which one is a bit less, the lesser part will be fitted to Webber’s car. (hence all his ‘bad luck’)

    I don’t like this Horner at all btw, he is always licking the last scat from Vettel’s rectum.

    I do hope now, that Vettel wins the last 2 races also, just to witness a record, because for the rest F1 is mega-boring atm.
    It would be an awesome record, and any record that is taken from the master-cheater is a bonus.

  • Butterfly

    captain tortuga:

    Well, you know how it is in F1. When the driver wins, it’s the driver, when it’s about hard work, they mention the team.

    It’s a culture of selective amnesia, I think.

    Of course, there are many people that can read between the lines, except the Italians. To the morons at Maranello, Vettel really is the reason why Red Bull are winning everything.

  • Alonso_Is_Slow

    Master cheater? Do you mean senna oe alonso?

  • Butterfly

    captain tortuga:

    You should come here more often, you seem to understand F1. Unlike some people…

  • TWD

    As a Merc GP fan, I respect Vettel in many aspects because he is a racing legend who is still racing probably for the next decade. To all his haters please check his record before committing baseless accusations.

    His very first F1 race already scored points with BMW Sauber in 2007 with 8th place. Also 4th place finish after driving for Toro Rosso later in the season.

    In 2008, he outqualified and outraced his teammate in STR in almost all races throughout the season with a pole and a win as an extra. Not bad for a number 2 driver. His overall points in 2008 was much higher than Webber where Webber was already racing in Newey’s designed RBR machine for a couple of years. So at that point, Newey’s briliance was not the subject. Vettel was the rising star in a much inferior car. If Newey was the X-Factor, he could have stopped Schumi’s dominance a decade ago but he failed.

    In 2009, he joined RBR as a number 2 driver and Webber as the number 1 driver. He however outqualified and outraced Webber in most races. He even became the championship contender in 2009. That turned him into the number 1 driver at RBR from 2010 onwards. From 2010 he has been unstoppable.

    Yes he was a crash kid once but we all could see his amazing talent while building his maturity from time to time if you guys really watch F1 without any bias perspective. We all have to admit that. His adrenaline to win races is there at all times. Defying team orders sucks but that make a champion a champion in most occasions. The fact is, all previous multiple WDC holders had their controversies much serious than of Vettel. The problem was, at that time there was no social media for us to read speculations and conspiracy theories.

    We have no right to hate or bash any driver or any sportsman. We are here to watch motor racing not to despise the one we are not cheering for.

    As a Merz GP fan, it does not mean I have to hate or bash the drivers who stand above the drivers I cheer for but I have to hope other teams especially Merz GP to improve in all aspects to put Vettel’s dominance to a halt. An excellent qualifier and racer as Nico Rosberg deserves a WDC title at least once.

    Politics in sports suck big time but not the drivers. I consider them all as champions.

  • Ukwhite

    The car is a major component to win, mastering it to its limits is another thing. That requires intelligence and all other skills.

    It is a golden relation so called twitter racers are not up to.

  • Butterfly

    Why does Red Bull, and Horner in particular, feel the need to spew this propaganda everytime Vettel wins something?

    Is Vettel’s image tied so closely to the Red Bull drink? It’s got to be a comercial reason behind all this. I wouldn’t know, I don’t drink that crap.

  • Butterfly

    …maybe it sells the whole “Gives You Wings” slogan?

  • Tinto

    @Butterfly: then try a Bull drink, that may change your life. By the way, read a speed report that has just been posted to see why Seb is so good.

  • Ukwhite

    Master cheater? You gotta be kidding. Try paralleling for comparison Sebastian with a professional cheater from Ferrari. Then you can have a case. But you cannot, can you….