Nice article written about Vettel and how he might struggle with an uncompetitive car after dominating with the fastest car on the grid.
Originally Posted by PortalF1.comIs Vettel's temper a problem?
There is no doubt that Sebastian Vettel is an exceptionally talented driver, and a deserving double world champion. His prodigious skill has taken him to victory in more than a quarter of the races he has contested, and won him two world championships after just four full seasons in Formula 1. Those statistics paint a formidable picture of the sport's youngest world champion - and yet, throughout his career he has been plauged with questions.
The first (one that is asked of all drivers as they make their way into the top flight) was simply whether he had what it takes to win. He answered that one pretty emphatically by taking pole and dominant victory at the rain-soaked 2008 Italian Grand Prix, still Scuderia Toro Rosso's only triumph to date. Having topped the rostrum once, the query naturally became whether he was world champion material. He responded by fighting for the title in his first year with Red Bull, narrowly winning it in his second and then utterly dominating it his third. Stunned critics announced that this was all well and good, but it seemed his strategy was to lead from the front - could he actually race wheel-to-wheel? And in September last year, as he powered past Fernando Alonso at nearly two hundred miles per hour with two wheels tearing up the Monza turf, it became very apparent that he can do that too.
But now, a new cloud hangs over Vettel's head. Having got to the front and never looked back, can he cope with being second best? It's easy to scoff at the idea of self-implosion, but the fact is that since he reached the summit of the sport, nobody has really challenged him. He has been the best driver at the best team, and that's only going to produce one result. This year though, Red Bull's rivals have stepped up a gear - and the boyish smile has all but gone from Sebastian's face. He's a driver who wears his emotions for all to see, and they've got the better of him more than once.
When he's winning, there's no nicer man in the paddock than Vettel. When he's not, he has the tendency to become hot-headed. In 2010, we saw things occasionally go wrong for the German. In Turkey he clashed with team-mate Mark Webber, and retired from the race. Walking away from the car, he pointed to his head and wound his finger on three occasions as if to question the Australian's sanity. A few months later as he served a drive-through penalty in Hungary, he shook his fist at race control before emerging behind his team-mate and demanding "How the f*** is Mark in front now? How is that possible?" Two events on in Italy, he felt a temporary loss in power on the back straight and immediately radioed his team, openly cursing them before his woes subsided.
Even in 2011, when things were going his way, we saw occasional glimpses of the Jekyll and Hyde character in the cockpit. In practice for the Korean Grand Prix, Toro Rosso stablemate Jaime Alguersuari held the Red Bull driver up in the final sector, causing Vettel to shake both fists at the Spaniard. In Abu Dhabi, with both titles easily sown up, he retired with puncture damage - and punched the steering wheel in dismay. And then, in the second race of 2012, his race was ruined when he collided with backmarker Narain Karthikeyan and his tyre deflated. He later stuck his middle finger up twice at the HRT driver, before proceeding to the press area and calling the Indian an "idiot" and a "gherkin".
It's easy to see these occasional outbursts as a simple overflow of passion in the heat of battle - as they indeed are. But compare Vettel's reaction to that of Jenson Button, who met a similar fate having collided with Karthikeyan and finishing fourteenth. The Briton later apologised, telling reporters that he could "only laugh" at the state of his race - whilst in the same press pen, Vettel was steaming. His response evoked memories of Hamilton's "maybe it's because I'm black" debacle in Monaco last year, and that's not where the similarities end. Both men appear prone to a form of F1 bipolar, extreme happiness when on top but melancholy and anger when not. What Vettel must avoid is letting his head drop, and consequentially suffering the sort of a frustration-fuelled season of incidents Hamilton endured last year.
Nobody's claiming that Vettel is anything other than a brilliant racing driver. But he's also a human being - and he has flaws. He in particular seems to find it difficult to cope with any obstacles which appear in his pursuit of perfection. Having reigned supreme for some time now, it will be interesting to see how he deals with a less competitive car. If he can keep his head, then he can still compete for a third consecutive title - but if his temper gets the better of him, then he will lose not only points, but respect.