Vettel can't win over the critics despite his record F1 achievements

Sebastian Vettel on the Melbourne podium

Sebastian Vettel on the Melbourne podium

Two former Grand Prix drivers have questioned whether reigning triple world champion Sebastian Vettel weighs up against his highly rated rivals.

David Coulthard, who made room for Vettel’s Red Bull debut at the end of 2008, said the jury is out as to whether the German can be considered a ‘great’, despite dominating Formula 1 at the wheel of his Adrian Newey-designed car.

“Do I think he has to move (teams) to cement his legacy? Yes, I do,” he wrote in the Guardian, amid reports elsewhere that Vettel may in fact have signed a contract extension through 2016.

“Seb is a good driver, a world-class driver. But he hasn’t overcome adversity yet in terms of being with another team or being up against a teammate who was already world champion.

(L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, pole sitter Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren celebrate in parc ferme. Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Montreal, Canada, Saturday 9 June 2012.

Pundits still rate Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton higher than Sebastian Vettel

“If it appears as a magic carpet ride, none of us like to see that. We like to see people overcome a bit of adversity,” added Coulthard.

Typically much more outspoken on the matter is Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 world champion and, like Coulthard, now an expert television pundit.

He told Germany’s Auto Bild that Vettel is: “Super fast but makes mistakes under pressure. If he’s in front, all is well, but otherwise he does not control his nerves well.”

“The difference with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton is that they are always fighting, regardless of their place and whether their car is good. They always give everything. On this level, Vettel does not impress me.”

At 25, Vettel has started 37 of his 102 grand prix starts from pole position, winning on 26 occasions and finishing on the podium 47 times and in the process notched up three consecutive world titles. (GMM)