Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel – Signed Official Ferrari Cap

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Cappellino Ufficiale della Scuderia Ferrari autografato dai due piloti Charles Leclerc e Sebastian Vettel. Il cappellino è accompagnato da certificato di autenticità.

Ferrari Cap Signed by Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.

Includes Autografia Certificate of Authenticity



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Charles Marc Hervé Perceval Leclerc (born 16 October 1997) is a Monégasque racing driver, currently racing in Formula One for Scuderia Ferrari. Leclerc won the GP3 Series championship in 2016 and the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2017. Leclerc made his Formula One debut in 2018 for Sauber, a team affiliated with Ferrari, for which he was part of the Ferrari Driver Academy. With Sauber having finished last the year before, Leclerc led the charge to improve the finishing position in the constructors’ championship to eighth, being the higher-ranked of the two Sauber drivers. Starting from 2019 and contracted until the end of the 2024 season, Leclerc is currently driving for Ferrari. He became the second-youngest driver to qualify on pole position in Formula One at the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix. The 2019 season also saw Leclerc take his first career win in Belgium, followed by winning his first Italian Grand Prix as a Ferrari driver the week after. He won the Pole Trophy in the 2019 season becoming the youngest driver ever and the first non-Mercedes driver to win it since the trophy’s inception in 2014.
Personal life
Born to father Hervé Leclerc and mother Pascale, Leclerc grew up as the second oldest alongside two other siblings; a younger brother, Arthur Leclerc and an older brother, Lorenzo. His grandfather was Charles Manni – founder of Mecaplast (later renamed Novares Group), which is currently run by his uncle, Thierry Manni. Throughout his childhood and early career, Leclerc maintained a close relationship with the late Jules Bianchi, to whom he was a godson. His father, Hervé, also raced cars, driving in Formula 3 in the 1980s and 1990s. He died after a long illness, aged 54, just four days before Leclerc would go on to win the feature race at the 2017 Formula 2 Baku round. Besides his native French, Leclerc also speaks Italian and English. Leclerc has described his religious stance as ” in God, but who would pray or go to church”.
Early career
2005–2013: Karting
Leclerc began his karting career in 2005, winning the French PACA Championship in 2005, 2006 and 2008. In 2009 he became French Cadet champion before moving up to the KF3 class in 2010, where he won the Junior Monaco Kart Cup. He continued in the KF3 class for 2011, winning the CIK-FIA KF3 World Cup, the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy and the ERDF Junior Kart Masters. During the year, Leclerc also became a member of Nicolas Todt’s All Road Management company. Leclerc graduated to the KF2 category in 2012 with the factory-backed ART Grand Prix team, winning the WSK Euro Series title, as well as finishing runner-up in the CIK-FIA European KF2 Championship and the CIK-FIA Under 18 World Karting Championship. In his final year of karting in 2013, Leclerc won the South Garda Winter Cup and claimed sixth position in the CIK-FIA European KZ Championship and finished second in the CIK-FIA World KZ Championship, behind current Red Bull Formula One driver Max Verstappen.
2014–2016: Formula Renault, Formula Three, and GP3
In 2014, Leclerc graduated to single-seaters, racing in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps championship for British team Fortec Motorsports. During the season, he took seven podium positions, including a double victory at Monza, to finish runner-up in the championship behind Koiranen GP’s Nyck de Vries. Leclerc also won the Junior Championship title at the final race of the season in Jerez, finishing ahead of Russian teenager Matevos Isaakyan. Leclerc also took part in a partial Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season with Fortec as a guest driver. In the six races he contested he finished on the podium three times, taking a second place at the Nürburgring followed by a pair of second-place finishes at the Hungaroring. Leclerc graduated to Formula Three in 2015, racing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with Dutch team Van Amersfoort Racing. At the opening round of the season in Silverstone, Leclerc inherited pole position for the second and third races of the weekend after original pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist was excluded for a technical infringement. He went on to take his first race victory in the third race of the weekend, ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi and Jake Dennis. He took his second victory at the following round in Hockenheim, winning the third race as well as taking two additional podiums and three rookie victories over the course of the event. Leclerc scored his third win in the first race at Spa-Francorchamps which saw him take the lead in the championship. However, Leclerc finished fourth in the standings, mostly due to damage sustained to his car’s chassis following a collision with Lance Stroll at Zandvoort. In November 2015, Leclerc finished second at the Macau Grand Prix. In December 2015, Leclerc partook in post-season testing with ART Grand Prix and Arden International. In February 2016, de Vries confirmed that Leclerc would race in the 2016 season. ART signed Leclerc the following week. With the team, he claimed three victories and took the title in Abu Dhabi, despite crashing out in the feature race.
2017: FIA Formula 2 Championship
The week following his victory in the GP3 title race, Charles Leclerc was confirmed to be graduating to the Formula 2 series for the 2017 season with Prema Racing, alongside fellow GP3 racer and Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco. He made his debut at Bahrain, where he took pole position for the feature race, but only finished third. In the sprint race, his Prema team chose to take a mid-race pit stop, which is very uncommon in the shorter sprint races. He pushed harder on his medium Pirelli tyres, creating a nine-second lead before pitting. This would drop him down to 14th place, but Leclerc overtook 13 cars and took victory by overtaking Luca Ghiotto on the final lap. After taking pole position for the second time in a row, he then fought off Ghiotto to win again in the Catalunya feature race, despite a radio issue. Leclerc did not score any points at his home round at Monaco. He was on pole but retired from the lead of the race with a suspension problem. The retirement also meant he would start the sprint race from the back of the grid, and in this race, he collided with Norman Nato whilst trying to make his way up the grid, which ultimately resulted in both drivers retiring from the race. He retained the championship lead despite the bad weekend, which he described as ‘hugely disappointing’. Leclerc took a fourth consecutive pole at a race Azerbaijan, which he dedicated to his late father, Herve. He converted this into another win, although the race was red-flagged five laps before the scheduled end. In the sprint race, he started from eighth, and dropped to tenth early on, but fought back to sixth. The retirement of the race leader, his title rival Oliver Rowland, and De Vries, who was also ahead of Leclerc, meant Leclerc improved to fourth. He then passed Nicholas Latifi and Jordan King, and began to close on the new leader, Nato. He passed Nato, but had been given a ten-second penalty for failing to slow for yellow flags, and therefore finished second. In Austria he took his fifth pole position, and then won the feature race from pole despite coming under pressure from teammate Fuoco, and towards the end, the DAMS of Latifi. He would retire from the sprint race after colliding with Fuoco and spinning out. By taking pole for the sixth time for the next race, at Silverstone, he matched the record for most pole positions in a row, which was set by Stoffel Vandoorne in 2014 and 2015, when the series were called GP2 Series. He won the feature race, even after his car set alight during the race, and even after one of his wing mirrors detached in the closing stages. He would not start from pole in Hungary, despite taking his seventh successive pole position, as he was disqualified for a technical infringement. Despite starting from the back, he was in 12th position by turn 1. Using an alternative tyre strategy that saw him start on the medium tyres, Leclerc was stuck behind Alexander Albon, who was on the same strategy, although he eventually got past and would finish fourth. He would also finish fourth in the sprint race the next day, giving him a 50-point championship lead over Rowland. For the Belgian rounds, Leclerc again took pole and won the race by a convincing margin of over 20 seconds, however, his win was disqualified as one of his skidblocks was excessively worn. Having to start in 19th place, Leclerc managed to go back up to 5th place and finish 3.8 seconds behind the race winner, Sérgio Sette Câmara. For the Italian feature race, Leclerc was battling for the lead; on the final lap, however, he was involved in an accident with De Vries. After starting towards the back of the grid for the second consecutive sprint race, Leclerc managed to fight his way back to 9th position, albeit out of the points. With a 57-point margin over Rowland heading into the penultimate rounds at Jerez, Leclerc gained his eighth pole position of the season, with both of his timed laps being good enough for pole position. In the feature race, Leclerc dominated most of the early stint on soft tyres and was able to overtake most of the runners on the alternate strategy. With seven laps to go, however, Nobuharu Matsushita collided with Santino Ferrucci, which brought out the safety car. At the point that the race resumed, Leclerc was misinformed over team radio that it was the “last lap” even though there were four laps to go, so after pushing hard to build a gap Leclerc’s tyres were “overheated badly” with several laps still to run, yet despite his tyres being “completely gone” by the end Leclerc managed to hold off a charging Rowland by 0.23 seconds, and claim the FIA Formula 2 championship in his rookie season in the main F1 feeder series. In claiming the championship, Leclerc became the youngest ever champion of the main support series for Formula 1 at 19 years 356 days old, and the first driver since Nico Hülkenberg in 2009 to win the championship in their rookie season (a feat which only Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have previously accomplished) and is the only driver to claim a championship with the Dallara GP2/11 chassis in their rookie season. For the sprint race, Leclerc started in eighth place, however, due to his car’s aggressive setup, he and his teammate, Antonio Fuoco, had to pit in the sprint race. Due to the aggressive pace of Leclerc however, he rose through the field, yet because of the excessive wear on his tyres, he conceded three positions on the final lap and finished in seventh position. For the final rounds at Abu Dhabi, Leclerc qualified in sixth place for the Feature race, his lowest starting position all season excluding penalties. Despite this, however, he managed to finish the highest of the alternate strategy runners in Abu Dhabi (Soft then Super Soft) in fourth place (he had made it up till third until the final corner of the final lap where he was pipped by Antonio Fuoco). This position however was subsequently changed to second after the race winner, Oliver Rowland, and Fuoco were disqualified for excessive floor wear and under-inflated front tyres respectively. For Leclerc’s final race, he started in seventh position. He was initially able to make up two places but was running slower than the race leaders Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi. As the race progressed, however, Leclerc started gaining time compared to his rivals and managed to take Latifi with a few laps to go. For the final three laps, DRS was disabled and yellow flags in the final sector meant that Leclerc was stuck behind Albon, however on the final lap, both drivers tangled, triggered by Leclerc nudging Albon, and both had a drag race which they constantly were pushing each other until Leclerc finally took the lead and won by 1.293 seconds, his final victory in his last F2 race.
Formula One career
In 2016, Leclerc joined the Ferrari Driver Academy and he acted as development driver for Haas F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari. As part of his role as development driver, Leclerc participated in the first practice session of the British and German Grands Prix driving for Haas. It was believed that if Leclerc won the GP3 Series championship, he would follow Daniil Kvyat and Valtteri Bottas direct from GP3 into F1 with Haas. However this was debunked by Haas team principal Guenther Steiner who said that Leclerc would progress to the 2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship. In 2017, he took part in the mid-season Hungaroring test following the Hungarian Grand Prix, driving the Ferrari SF70H. He was the fastest on the first day of the test, running 98 laps in the process and he did not take part in the second day’s test. Kimi Räikkönen also praised Leclerc saying “It’s not easy to do well in a different car from what you normally drive. But Leclerc has shown great progress, and for sure he will do great things in the future”.
Sauber (2018)
For the 2018 Formula One World Championship, Leclerc signed for the Sauber F1 Team as a race driver, replacing Pascal Wehrlein and alongside Marcus Ericsson. This marked the first appearance of a Monégasque Formula One driver since Olivier Beretta in 1994. At the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, a sixth-place finish saw him become the second Monégasque driver to score points in Formula One after Louis Chiron, who finished third at the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix. At his first home race in Formula One, Leclerc suffered a brake failure in the closing laps, colliding into the back of Brendon Hartley and forcing both cars into retirement. Three consecutive points finishes followed before a run of five races without points. This run included three retirements; a loose wheel in Britain, suspension damage after colliding with Sergio Pérez in Hungary, and a multi-car accident in Belgium caused by Nico Hülkenberg which resulted in Fernando Alonso being launched over the top of Leclerc’s car. More points finishes came with ninth in Singapore and seventh in Russia, before retirements from a mechanical failure in Japan and damage from a collision with Romain Grosjean in the United States. He ended the season with three consecutive seventh-place finishes in the final three races. Leclerc out-qualified teammate Ericsson seventeen times from twenty-one races and finished 13th in the championship with 39 points.
Ferrari (2019–present)
2019 season
Scuderia Ferrari signed Leclerc for the 2019 season, replacing 2007 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen, who took his place at Sauber (now Alfa Romeo). While initially only announced for 2019, a few days later, then-Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene indicated that Leclerc’s contract was going to be four seasons long, running “at least until 2022.” Leclerc made his first test day as an official Ferrari race driver in November 2018 during the end of season test. In his first Grand Prix driving for Ferrari, he started and finished in the fifth position at the Australian Grand Prix. In his second qualifying for Ferrari, at the Bahrain Grand Prix, he qualified on pole position for the first time in his Formula One career, having the fastest times in two of the three practice sessions and in all three qualifying sessions, setting a new track record, and becoming the youngest Ferrari pole-sitter. Leclerc led for the majority of the race, but lost the lead and was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas due to his engine dropping a cylinder with a failed fuel injector. A late-race safety car prevented the charging Max Verstappen from taking 3rd place, leading to the first podium of Leclerc’s Formula One career. In China, Leclerc qualified fourth behind Vettel. After overtaking his teammate during the start, he was asked to yield and let Vettel pass, eventually finishing the race in fifth. In Azerbaijan, he was the favourite for pole position until a crash in the second qualifying session ended his contention. He started eighth after penalties for the two Alfa Romeos and finished the race fifth with an extra point for the fastest lap of the race. At the following race in Monaco, he was eliminated in Q1 and started 15th due to Ferrari’s erroneous strategy that kept him in the garage to save tyres, underestimating track evolution at the end of the qualifying session. He suffered a puncture and severe floor damage after a failed attempt to pass Nico Hülkenberg, leading to his second retirement at his home race. Leclerc qualified and finished third in Canada, his second podium finish, behind the controversial 1–2 finish of Hamilton and teammate Sebastian Vettel. He would finish third again in France. At the Austrian Grand Prix, he qualified on pole position, the second pole of his Formula One career. He subsequently finished second after colliding with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, having led for the major part of the race. The incident was investigated by the stewards after the race, who deemed it a racing incident and decided against taking action. At the British Grand Prix, Leclerc qualified in 3rd ahead of Max Verstappen. He eventually finished the race in third place and was also voted ‘Driver of the day’ for defending his position against numerous attacks by Verstappen during the early stages of the race. This was his fourth consecutive podium finish of the season. Despite having finished in the top two in all the three practice sessions, Leclerc qualified in 10th place at the German Grand Prix after an issue with the fuel system prevented him from setting a lap time in the final qualifying session. In what turned out to be a sensational rain-hit race, he made his way up to fourth in the early laps. A questionable tactic by his team’s strategists of installing soft tyres despite the track being too wet culminated in him losing control and crashing into the barriers on lap 29, leading to his second retirement of the season. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Leclerc suffered a rear-end crash in qualifying but still completed the session. He ultimately finished the race in fourth place. At the first race after the summer break, the Belgian Grand Prix, Leclerc took his third pole position of the season alongside teammate Sebastian Vettel in 2nd—the second Ferrari front-row lockout of the season. During the race, Leclerc fended off the charging Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton to record his maiden Grand Prix win, making him the youngest ever Ferrari race winner. After the race, he dedicated his maiden victory to his former competitor Anthoine Hubert, who was killed in an accident during the previous day’s Formula 2 feature race at the same circuit. At the Italian Grand Prix, Leclerc won the race from pole position after defending his position from both Mercedes drivers and became the first Ferrari driver to win at Monza since Fernando Alonso won there for the team in 2010. He scored his third consecutive pole in Singapore. Initially leading the race, he finished in second place after he was undercut by teammate Vettel. In Russia, he took his fourth consecutive pole position and his sixth of the season. Vettel passed Leclerc into the first corner and led for the first half of the race before the team orchestrated an undercut in Leclerc’s favour to let him retake the lead. Vettel retired from the race shortly after with a hybrid system failure, bringing out the virtual safety car. This greatly benefited the Mercedes drivers, who made their pit stops and eventually finished the race ahead of Leclerc in third. Leclerc qualified in second in Japan, but took damage in a first-lap collision with Max Verstappen. He would go on to finish the race in sixth place, his worst finish of the season. Leclerc took his seventh pole position of the year in Mexico after Verstappen—who had qualified in first place—was handed a grid penalty for a yellow flag infringement. He went on to finish the race in fourth place. After another fourth-place finish in the United States, a controversial collision with teammate Vettel caused Leclerc’s third retirement of the season in Brazil, ending both drivers’ races. Leclerc ended the season with a third-place finish in Abu Dhabi. Leclerc ended the 2019 season in fourth place in the championship with 264 points, ahead of teammate Vettel. During his first season at Ferrari, he recorded ten podium finishes, two wins, four fastest laps, and the most pole positions of any driver that season, with seven. Leclerc, therefore, became the first non-Mercedes driver to win the Pole Position Award. He also became the first Monégasque to win a Formula One World Championship Grand Prix (although Louis Chiron had won several Grands Prix before the inaugural championship in 1950).
2020 season
Leclerc qualified seventh for the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix. The team struggled for pace in the race but due to the chaotic race recovered to finish second with Leclerc pulling off crucial overtaking manoeuvres on fresh tyres after the final restart. In the build-up to the Styrian Grand Prix weekend Leclerc and Ferrari were investigated by the FIA after allegedly breaching the governing body’s strict COVID-19 safety protocols after returning home to Monaco (with permission from his team) in between the Austrian and Styrian Grands Prix events with social media posts showing Leclerc socialising with fans, friends and his girlfriend. Leclerc initially denied any wrongdoing. However, the governing body did not agree with him and Leclerc and Scuderia Ferrari were given a warning after it was clear he had been in contact with people not included in his bubble. Things did not get much better for Leclerc on track in qualifying for the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix, where he ended up 11th fastest in a full wet session and was knocked out in Q2 before insult was added to injury as he was demoted 14th on grid after receiving a three-place penalty for impeding Daniil Kvyat in the session. A poor weekend for Leclerc was capped off in the race where he collided with his team-mate Sebastian Vettel on the first lap causing them both to retire. Despite the fact the stewards took no action – viewing the collision as a racing incident and gave no penalties to either driver – Leclerc accepted full responsibility for the collision saying in one of his post-race interviews,”I’ve been a total asshole, today I fucked it up”. At the next race, the Hungarian Grand Prix, Leclerc qualified 6th, one place behind Vettel. In the race, Leclerc struggled with tyre wear and general lack of speed and finished in 11th place, 5 places behind team mate Vettel. Leclerc qualified 4th at the British Grand Prix and went on to finish 3rd, claiming the 12th podium finish of his F1 career and second of the season. For the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix Leclerc qualified 8th. He subsequently pulled off a one-stop strategy to advance to fourth in the race. Before competing in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in 2020 at Silverstone, Leclerc reacted angrily to accusations that he was racist and opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement, responding by saying racism is “disgusting” and accusing headlines of attempting to manipulate his words. The accusations came after he was one of six drivers who opted not to take a knee during the pre-race ceremonies of the opening events of the 2020 Formula One World Championship as part of the sports anti-racism campaign. He stated that he chose not to take a knee due to the negative political connotations he felt such a gesture could have. At the 2020 Italian Grand Prix he qualified thirteenth but in the race, he crashed out at Parabolica on lap 24, while he was in fourth, thanks to a pitstop earlier than others who pitted during a Safety Car period. The crash caused a red flag. Starting from round 12 at Portimão, Leclerc went on to take three consecutive top-5 finishes. At the rain-hit Turkish Grand Prix, Leclerc was running in third place after producing a comeback from 14th on the intermediate tyres. However, a mistake while attempting to pass Sergio Pérez for second on the final lap resulted in Leclerc running wide and losing the podium to teammate Vettel. The doubleheader in Bahrain was rather forgettable for Leclerc, who finished tenth in the first race and retired after a first-lap collision with Pérez in the second. At the final round in Abu Dhabi, both Ferraris lacked pace and finished outside the points, with Leclerc in 13th ahead of Vettel. Leclerc finished the championship in eighth, scoring 98 points.
2021 onwards
Leclerc is due to drive for Ferrari until the end of 2024. Leclerc had a new team mate at Ferrari for 2021 with Carlos Sainz Jr. joining the team as replacement for Sebastian Vettel. Leclerc started the Bahrain Grand Prix in 4th behind Valtteri Bottas and finished 6th. He then started 4th and also finished 4th at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix behind Lando Norris after struggling to keep his pace after the red flag at the middle of the race. He spent half of the race without a radio. Leclerc then finished 6th at the Portuguese Grand Prix which placed him 5th in the points standings, above his teammate Sainz, who finished 11th in the race. He qualified on pole for his home event- the Monaco Grand Prix despite crashing in the final part of qualifying but was unable to start the race due to suffering a driveshaft issue on his way to the grid. He qualified for back-to-back poles during Qualifying for the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix., later finishing 4th. At the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Leclerc qualified fourth but inherited the lead of the race on lap 1, passing Valtteri Bottas at the start and taking advantage of a collision between title rivals Verstappen and Hamilton. Leclerc held on to the lead of the race until 2 laps to go when he was ultimately caught and overtaken by Hamilton, finishing the race in 2nd place and claiming his first and only podium of 2021. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Leclerc was hit from the side by Lance Stroll on turn 1 and did not finish. In Italy, Leclerc finished in fifth, promoted to fourth after Sergio Perez’s penalty. Leclerc took grid penalties in the 2021 Russian Grand Prix and started from 19th. He was in the top 5 at one point but fell to fifteenth by the end of the race after heavy rain fell and he was the last to pit for intermediate tyres. In Turkey, Leclerc would qualify fourth, but would start third after engine penalties for Lewis Hamilton. In Abu Dhabi, a decision to pit under a virtual safety car proved to be the wrong one as Leclerc failed to make up for the lost track position. This resulted in him finishing only 10th. Meanwhile, teammate Sainz finished 3rd, moving him up to 5th in the drivers’ standings and dropping Leclerc to 7th. This marked the first time Leclerc had been beaten by a teammate in his car racing career.
Sebastian Vettel (born 3 July 1987) is a German racing driver who competes in Formula One for Aston Martin, having previously driven for BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, and Ferrari. Vettel has won four World Drivers’ Championship titles, which he won consecutively from 2010 to 2013. Vettel is the youngest World Champion in Formula 1, he also has the third-most race victories (53) and podium finishes (122) and the fourth-most pole positions (57). Vettel started his Formula One career as a test driver for BMW Sauber in 2006, making a one-off racing appearance in 2007. Part of the Red Bull young-driver programme, Vettel appeared for Toro Rosso later that year and was kept as a full-time driver for 2008. Vettel was promoted to Red Bull in 2009. With Red Bull, Vettel won four consecutive titles from 2010 to 2013, the first of which made him the sport’s youngest World Champion, setting the records for the most consecutive race wins (9) and race wins in a single season (13). Vettel signed for Ferrari for 2015 and became Mercedes’ and Lewis Hamilton’s closest challenger in two title fights in 2017 and 2018, although he finished both years as runner-up.
Early and personal life
Vettel was born on 3 July 1987 in Heppenheim, West Germany, to Norbert and Heike Vettel. He has one younger brother, Fabian, a racing driver, and two older sisters: Melanie, a dental technician, and Stefanie, a physiotherapist for disabled children. Vettel suggested in an interview that he was “terrible” at school, but he passed his Abitur at Heppenheim’s Starkenburg-Gymnasium with a respectable grade. His childhood heroes were “The three Michaels”: Michael Schumacher, Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson. He mentioned that he wanted to be a singer like Jackson, but realised that he did not have the voice. Vettel is also a fan of the Beatles, collecting several records, including Abbey Road and his favourite song being “Drive My Car”. In an interview on Top Gear, he stated that he is a fan of British comedy such as Little Britain and Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Vettel lives in Thurgovia, Switzerland, amongst other racing drivers and is a fan of German football team Eintracht Frankfurt. Vettel has described himself as competitive, private and impatient. He also appeared in advertisements for Head & Shoulders, and provided the voice of character Sebastian Schnell in the German version of the movie Cars 2. Vettel married childhood friend Hanna Prater at a private ceremony in early 2019, and they have three children: Emilie, born in January 2014; Matilda, born in September 2015; and a son, born in November 2019. In 2016, Forbes estimated that his annual income was $41 million. Kimi Räikkönen, his teammate from 2015 to 2018, is a close friend. Besides his native German, Vettel speaks English, French, Finnish and Italian. Vettel is also known for his avoidance of social media, and is the only Formula One driver on the 2022 grid with no social media presence.
Early career
Vettel began karting at the age of three, and began racing in karts series in 1995 at the age of eight. He was accepted into the Red Bull Junior Team in 1998, and won various titles, such as the Junior Monaco Kart Cup in 2001. Vettel was promoted to open-wheel cars in 2003, and was given a chance by Derrick Walker to test a Reynard Motorsport Champ Car in a two-day private test at the Homestead road course. A year later, he won the 2004 Formula BMW ADAC championship with 18 victories from 20 races. Vettel drove for ASL Mücke Motorsport in the 2005 Formula 3 Euro Series. He was placed fifth in the final standings with 63 points and won the Rookie Cup. He tested for the Williams Formula One team later that year as a reward for his Formula BMW success. Vettel then went on to test for the BMW Sauber Formula One team. Vettel was promoted to test driver for BMW Sauber in 2006, and participated in the 2006 Formula 3 Euro Series, finishing as runner-up. He also competed in the 2006 Formula Renault 3.5 Series, where he finished first and second at Misano in his first two races. In the next round at Spa-Francorchamps, his finger was almost sliced off by flying debris following an accident, and he was expected to be out for several weeks. Nevertheless, he managed to compete in the 2006 Masters of Formula 3 at Zandvoort the following weekend, where he finished in sixth place. Vettel competed in the 2007 Formula Renault 3.5 Series, and took his first win at the Nürburgring. He led the championship when he was called up permanently by the BMW Sauber Formula One team.
Formula One career
BMW Sauber
2006–2007: Test driver and debut
Vettel became BMW Sauber’s third driver at the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix, when former incumbent Robert Kubica replaced Jacques Villeneuve as second driver for the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. On his testing debut, Vettel set the fastest time in the second Friday free practice. Vettel became the then-youngest Formula One driver to participate in a Grand Prix weekend at 19 years and 53 days. He also set a record for collecting his first fine in nine seconds into his career, as Vettel exceeded the pitlane speed limit on the way to the track. In his second testing session at the 2006 Italian Grand Prix, he set the fastest time in both Friday practice sessions. Vettel was confirmed as BMW’s test driver for 2007. Following Kubica’s crash at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel was named his replacement at the 2007 United States Grand Prix. He started in seventh position and finished in eighth to become the then-youngest driver to score a point in Formula One.
Toro Rosso
2007–2008: Youngest polesitter and first race win
BMW released him in July 2007 to join Red Bull’s Scuderia Toro Rosso, replacing Scott Speed from the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, as Vettel was already under contract to Red Bull Racing. It was also announced that he would drive for Toro Rosso in 2008 alongside Sébastien Bourdais. In the rain-affected Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, Vettel worked his way up to third, behind Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber, and seemed to be on course for his and the team’s maiden podium finish. However, Vettel crashed into Webber under safety car conditions, forcing both cars to retire. Webber said after the race: “It’s kids isn’t it. Kids with not enough experience – you do a good job and then they fuck it all up”. Vettel was initially punished with a ten-place grid penalty for the following race, but this was lifted after a spectator video on YouTube showed the incident may have been caused by Hamilton’s behaviour behind the safety car. Vettel finished a career-best fourth a week later at the Chinese Grand Prix, having started 17th on the grid while in mixed conditions. He was tipped by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz as one of the sport’s big future stars: “Vettel is one of the young guys with extraordinary potential…ù He is fast, he is intelligent, and he is very interested in the technical side.” After four races of the 2008 season, Vettel was the only driver to have failed to finish a single race, having retired on the first lap in three of them. At the Monaco Grand Prix, Vettel scored his first points of the season with a fifth-place finish, after qualifying 17th. Toro Rosso’s technical director Giorgio Ascanelli explained that something changed at the European Grand Prix in Valencia: “Suddenly Vettel understood something about how to drive an F1 car quickly. It made a huge difference – not only to the speed he could unlock but also to his ability to do so consistently.” At the wet Italian Grand Prix, Vettel became the youngest driver in history to win a Formula One Grand Prix, aged 21 years and 74 days. He led for the majority of the Grand Prix and crossed the finish line 12.5 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen. It would also be Toro Rosso’s only win. Earlier in the weekend, he had already become the youngest pole-sitter. Toro Rosso team boss Gerhard Berger said: “As he proved today, he can win races, but he’s going to win World Championships. He’s a cool guy”. His victory led the German media to dub him “Baby Schumi”. Vettel was named 2008 Rookie of the Year at the Autosport Awards.
Red Bull
2009–2010: Championship runner-up and youngest world champion
At the start of the 2009 season, Vettel replaced the retired David Coulthard at Red Bull Racing. He began strongly at the Australian Grand Prix, running in second for the majority of the race. However, a clash with Robert Kubica over second place in the latter stages forced both to retire. He went on to take pole position and the race win at Chinese Grand Prix; Red Bull Racing’s maiden pole and win. Further wins followed in Great Britain, Japan and Abu Dhabi. He won the Japanese Grand Prix from pole position, leading every lap. Vettel won the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the first ever day-night race, to finish second in the World Drivers’ Championship standings behind Jenson Button. He also scored his third fastest lap of the year, drawing him level with teammate Mark Webber. However, as Vettel had more second fastest laps, he won the 2009 DHL Fastest Lap Award. Vettel took the first pole position of the 2010 season at the Bahrain Grand Prix. He led most of the race but as a result of a spark plug failure, Vettel finished in fourth place. At the Australian Grand Prix, Vettel was appointed as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association. He took his first win of the season in Malaysia. In Monaco, Vettel made it a Red Bull 1–2 with him second and Webber first. Both were equal on points in the standings, with Webber first based on total wins. At the Turkish Grand Prix, Vettel was running second behind Webber when he made a passing move on his teammate. The two collided, putting Vettel out of the race, with neither driver accepting responsibility for the collision. At the British Grand Prix, both Vettel and Webber’s cars were fitted with a new front wing design. Vettel’s wing was damaged in the third practice session, and Webber’s sole surviving example was removed and given to his teammate. Vettel qualified in first place, but suffered a puncture. He finished seventh while Webber took the victory. In Japan, he qualified on pole ahead of Webber and went on to win with a lights-to-flag victory. Aged 23 years and 98 days, Vettel became the youngest Grand Prix driver to win at the same track on two occasions. At the inaugural Korean Grand Prix, Vettel led the first 45 laps before retiring with engine failure, handing victory to championship rival Fernando Alonso. With the 1–2 finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Vettel and Webber secured Red Bull Racing’s first World Constructors’ Championship. Vettel went into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi with a 15-point deficit to Alonso and a 7-point gap to Webber. He won the Grand Prix from pole to become the youngest World Drivers’ Champion in the sport’s history, as Alonso only finished in seventh place. Following John Surtees in the 1964 season and James Hunt in 1976, this was the third time in Formula One history that the title winner had not topped the championship table until after the last race.
2011–2012: Successful title defences, most poles in a season
Vettel started the 2011 season with wins in Australia and Malaysia, before a second-place finish at the Chinese Grand Prix due to poor tyre management, possibly related to his inability to properly communicate with his team, as his radio was broken. In Monaco, Vettel led the race but due to another radio malfunction, the Red Bull pit crew was not prepared when he came in. The pit stop was slow and he was sent out on the wrong tyres, handing the lead to Button. Vettel switched to a one-stop strategy and stuck with one set of soft tyres for 56 laps. He was caught by Alonso and Button as his tyres deteriorated, but neither were able to pass him. The race was red-flagged with few laps remaining, which allowed teams to change their tyres; when the race was restarted under the safety car, Vettel was able to retain the lead and win. At the European Grand Prix, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) enforced a ban on engine mappings. It was believed by some in the press that this was an attempt by the FIA to thwart Vettel’s early domination. Nevertheless, he took pole with the fastest qualifying lap in Valencia Street Circuit’s history. Vettel dominated with his first hat-trick of 2011, and won his sixth race out of eight. The FIA implemented another rule change at the British Grand Prix, targeting the blown diffusers. Red Bull believed the changes would cost them about half a second per lap. During the race, Vettel held off Webber for second place, who ignored a radio message from team principal Christian Horner to hold position. It was only the second time in the sport’s history that a driver had finished second or higher in each of the first nine races of a season and won at least six of them. Vettel’s run of fourteen successive front-row starts and eleven successive top two finishes ended at his home race, where he qualified third and finished fourth. In Italy, he took his tenth pole position of the year, in which he joined Ayrton Senna as the only driver to have taken ten pole positions in two separate seasons. A podium finish in Japan secured his second successive title with four races remaining, making him the youngest ever double and back-to-back champion. Vettel won the following race in Korea to become the second driver to take at least ten wins in a season after Michael Schumacher. He also helped to secure Red Bull’s second successive World Constructors’ Championship. Vettel took his eleventh victory of the season in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, leading every lap from pole position, as well as setting the race’s fastest lap to claim his first grand slam. Vettel broke the record for the most pole positions in a season at the season finale in Brazil, after he clinched his 15th pole of the year. He completed the year with 15 poles, 11 victories, and 17 podiums from 19 races; Vettel also earned a record total of 392 points.
Vettel started the 2012 season with a second place at the Australian Grand Prix, before he finished outside the points in Malaysia following a collision with backmarker Narain Karthikeyan. Vettel and Horner criticised Karthikeyan’s driving, with Vettel calling him an “idiot”, and a “cucumber”. Karthikeyan hit back, calling Vettel a “cry baby”. Vettel crossed the line in first place at the Bahrain Grand Prix to go top of the championship standings. Three races without a podium place followed, before he retired at the European Grand Prix after an alternator failure, dropping him to fourth in the standings. In Germany, Vettel finished second behind Alonso but received a 20-second time penalty after the race, as he was off the track when he overtook Button; Vettel dropped back to fifth. He started in 10th place but finished second in Belgium to climb up to second place in the championship. Vettel then retired at the Italian Grand Prix due to a alternator failure, which saw the gap to leader Alonso grow to 39 points with seven races remaining. He won next race in Singapore, as he kept the lead until the 2-hour race limit was reached. At the Japanese Grand Prix he took his second career grand slam and coupled with Alonso’s retirement, he cut the gap down to just four points. After winning at the Korean Grand Prix, the Indian Grand Prix brought another victory, as Vettel topped all three practice sessions before taking pole position and leading every lap of the race to win. During qualifying at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Vettel was told to stop the car due to a fuel pump issue; he was forced to start from the pit lane. From last place, Vettel fought his way back to finish in third place. He started the last race in Brazil with a 13-point cushion against Alonso. On the opening lap, Vettel spun after an incident with Bruno Senna. Following changing weather conditions, Vettel climbed up to finish in sixth place to win the championship by three points and to become the youngest ever triple world champion. He also became the third driver to acquire three consecutive championships, after Juan Manuel Fangio and Schumacher.
2013–2014: Quadruple world champion, nine wins in a row, and departure from Red Bull
Vettel started the first two races of the 2013 season on pole position, and at the Malaysian Grand Prix, he lapped over 2.5 seconds faster than teammate Webber in qualifying during a wet session. He won the race, though not without controversy. Vettel ignored the team orders and passed Webber for the lead. Webber was furious after the race and said that Vettel “will have protection as usual and that’s the way it goes”. Team principal Horner, although unhappy with Vettel’s actions, pointed out that Webber had defied team orders on several previous occasions. He acknowledged that the already fragile relationship between the two drivers had further broken down as a result of the incident. Vettel claimed that he was not sorry for winning and that if the situation presented itself again, he would have passed Webber despite the order, adding that he felt Webber did not deserve to win the race. Following wins in Bahrain and Canada, his championship lead was cut at the British Grand Prix as he was denied a likely win due to gearbox failure. Vettel bounced back to win his home race in Germany for the first time. After he finished third in Hungary, Vettel won the last nine races of the season, including grand slams in Singapore and Korea. Vettel set the record for most consecutive race wins with nine and he became only the third man after Alberto Ascari and Jim Clark to take consecutive grand slams. He sealed his fourth world title at the Indian Grand Prix. On several occasions during the season, spectators booed Vettel. Although the booing was widely condemned by fellow drivers, the media and others in the paddock, Vettel revealed that it had a negative impact on him. For the 2014 season and beyond, drivers picked a unique car number to use for the remainder of their Formula One career; Vettel chose the number five. However, as reigning World Drivers’ Champion, he carried number one throughout the season. Webber left the sport and was replaced by Daniel Ricciardo, who was promoted from Toro Rosso. Vettel struggled with reliability issues throughout winter testing, and forced him to retire at the opening Australian Grand Prix. Reliability problems also forced Vettel to retire at the Monaco and Austrian Grands Prix. Vettel qualified on the front-row for the races in Malaysia, Great Britain and Hungary, and finished on the podium in Malaysia, Canada, Singapore and Japan. After the Russian Grand Prix, he had been outqualified by a teammate over a season for the first time in his Formula One career. In addition to suffering reliability problems, throughout 2014 Vettel struggled to get to grips with the Red Bull RB10, and the Pirelli tyres. He signed off the year by becoming the first defending champion to fail to win a race during a season since Jacques Villeneuve in 1998. In October, Red Bull had announced that Vettel would be leaving the team at the end of the season to join Scuderia Ferrari, one year before his contract was due to expire. Vettel replaced Alonso and partnered his friend Kimi Räikkönen. Vettel mentioned he would like to drive for Ferrari at some point in his career and was already rumoured in 2012 to have a non-binding pre-contract, with options, to join them in 2014. He was denied an early release from his Red Bull contract to test the 2014 Ferrari car in Abu Dhabi. In spite of this, Vettel was present at the Ferrari test – although not driving the car – but Red Bull did not enforce any sanctions. Vettel instead made his first appearance in November, completing nearly 100 laps in the 2012 car around the test track of Fiorano.
2015–2016: Returning to the top step, a threat to Mercedes
Vettel made his Ferrari debut by finishing third in the Australian Grand Prix. He followed that up with winning the Malaysian Grand Prix, his first race victory for over a year and the first win for Ferrari for almost two years. After the race, an emotional Vettel paid tribute to Schumacher, saying that his hero’s achievements with Ferrari made the first win all the more special. He won the Hungarian Grand Prix to remain a championship contender after he started from third on the grid. He dedicated his victory to the driver Jules Bianchi, who died the week prior from injuries sustained in 2014. At the halfway point of the season, Vettel was 42 points behind championship leader and Mercedes driver Hamilton. Vettel was in third place in Belgium when his right rear blew at high speed on the penultimate lap, likely ending any title chances given Hamilton’s win. After the race, he ranted about the ‘unacceptable’ and ‘unsafe’ Pirelli tyres that could have caused him serious injury. Vettel came home second in the Italian Grand Prix, his first race with Ferrari at the team’s home soil. He then took his first pole with the team at the Singapore Grand Prix, Ferrari’s first pole for three years. Vettel went on to win the race, and with Hamilton retiring, he closed to within 49 points with seven races remaining. Vettel ended the season in third place, however, with three wins and 13 podiums; he declared the season as a ‘miracle’.
After a third-place finish at the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, Vettel’s participation in Bahrain ended without starting as his car broke down on formation lap. At the Chinese Grand Prix, Vettel collided with teammate Räikkönen on the first lap, but both were able to continue. He blamed Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat for the collision, labelling him a “madman” and described his overtaking manoeuvre as “suicidal”. At the Russian Grand Prix, Vettel retired on the first lap after two consecutive collisions with Kvyat. At the Mexican Grand Prix, Vettel attempted to overtake Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, but after Verstappen ran off the track and rejoined ahead of him, Vettel verbally attacked him and race director Charlie Whiting, for which he later apologised. Vettel then blocked Red Bull’s Ricciardo by moving in the braking zone, and was given a ten-second penalty and two points on his licence. Although he achieved seven podium finishes during the season, Vettel did not win any races in 2016.
2017–2018: Championship challenges ending in disappointment
His third season at Ferrari started with victory in Australia, his first in 18 months. The early form continued the following races, winning in Bahrain and Monaco, and finishing second in China, Russia and Spain. In Russia, Vettel took his first pole position in 18 months and with Räikkönen alongside him, Ferrari had their first front row lock out since the 2008 French Grand Prix. Vettel’s lead at the top of the standings increased to 25 points after the Monaco Grand Prix, Ferrari’s first victory at the circuit since Schumacher won there in 2001. In Azerbaijan, Vettel collided into the rear of race leader Hamilton under the safety car, accusing Hamilton of brake testing him. Moments later, Vettel pulled alongside and hit his Mercedes as they prepared for a restart, for which he received a ten-second stop-go penalty. The FIA investigated the Vettel-Hamilton incident further, but Vettel received no punishment. Vettel took full responsibility, issuing a public apology and committing to devote personal time over the next 12 months to educational activities across a variety of FIA championships and events. Vettel’s championship lead was cut to only a single point in Great Britain, as he suffered a puncture on the penultimate lap and dropped to seventh place. Vettel started from pole in Hungary, and maintained the lead. He overcame steering issues and held on for victory, which gave him a 14-point lead over Hamilton. Mercedes dominated after the summer break and Vettel lost the championship lead at the Italian Grand Prix, which was followed by a first-lap retirement in Singapore after collision with Räikkönen and Verstappen. It was the first time in Formula One history that both Ferraris retired from the first lap of a Grand Prix. His title hopes were dealt another blow in Malaysia, as he started last following a turbo problem in qualifying. He finished in fourth place, but crashed with Williams’ Lance Stroll on the cool-down lap; neither would be penalised. More reliability issues befell Ferrari in Japan as Vettel retired due to a spark plug failure. In Mexico, Vettel became the fourth driver in Formula One history to claim 50 pole positions. Verstappen took the lead from Vettel at the start, before Vettel collided with Hamilton, after which Hamilton won his fourth title. For the first time in his career, Vettel failed to win the World Drivers’ Championship having led it at some stage during a season. The 2018 season was dubbed the “Fight For Five” by the media, as for the first time in Formula One history, two quadruple world champions lined up at the start of a season. For the second consecutive year, Vettel began the season with victory in Australia, after he took the lead while pitting under the virtual safety car. It was his 100th podium, while he also became only the third man in Formula One history to have led 3,000 laps. In Bahrain, Vettel maintained the lead from pole through the first round of pit stops and held off Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas despite being on old soft tyres to take a record fourth victory at the circuit. At the Chinese Grand Prix, he was hit by Verstappen in the latter stages of the race, which caused both to spin. Vettel limped home in eighth place, with his championship lead reduced to nine points. For the first time since 2013, Vettel took three consecutive pole positions as he qualified in first place in Azerbaijan. It was the 23rd different Grand Prix at which he had taken pole position, equalling Hamilton’s record. At the Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel won for the third time in 2018 and for the 50th time in his career, becoming only the fourth man to reach a half-century of wins. The following race in France, Vettel lost the championship lead following a collision with Bottas. He bounced back in Great Britain, after he passed Bottas in the last laps to take victory. Vettel led his home race until he slid off the track and hit the wall in the latter stages as rain started to fall, as he had clipped the sausage curb a few laps before, breaking a part of his front wing, causing understeer and loss of downforce; he won in Belgium, however, in which he passed Hamilton for the race victory. Contact on the opening lap with Hamilton in Italy saw Vettel damage his front wing and drop to the back of the field, but he recovered to cross the finishing line in fourth place. It left Vettel 30 points behind the Mercedes driver with seven races left. His championship hopes were dealt a further blow as Ferrari’s upgrades introduced at the Singapore Grand Prix proved to be unsuccessful, making a step backwards on car development; Ferrari suffered a dip of form until the United States Grand Prix, where they reverted to their old package and successfully rediscovered their form. Vettel claimed his first ever podium in Mexico but the World Drivers’ Championship went to Hamilton for a second consecutive year. Although Mercedes had been the more consistent and better team, fans and pundits criticised Vettel for making too many mistakes during the season.
2019–2020: Difficult ending at Ferrari
After showing impressive pace throughout pre-season testing in Barcelona, Vettel and his new teammate Charles Leclerc headed to Australia with many pundits believing they had the car to beat for the 2019 season. The opening weekend proved to be difficult, however, as Vettel qualified some seven tenths off pole position in third and finished the race in fourth place. Third-place finishes in China and Azerbaijan followed, as Mercedes continued to dominate. Vettel took pole position in Canada; his first pole in 17 races. Midway though the race, a snap of oversteer caused him to run wide onto the grass. Vettel received a five-second time penalty from the stewards, who believed he had returned to the track “in an unsafe manner and forced off track”. Vettel crossed the line in first place but lost his victory as a result of the penalty. After the race, he swapped the number one and two signs in front of Hamilton’s Mercedes and the empty spot that was supposed for his own car, as Vettel parked his car at the start of the pit entry. At the German Grand Prix, Vettel was unable to qualify after a turbo issue, which meant he would start in last place. During a race with mixed weather conditions, Vettel climbed up to second place. In Italy, Vettel spun at the Ascari chicane and when he re-entered the track, he made contact with Racing Point’s Stroll. Vettel received a 10-second stop-go penalty and finished in 13th place. At the Singapore Grand Prix, Vettel won on a circuit Ferrari were expected to struggle at. For the first time, Vettel had won five times at the same track. The following race, in Russia, Vettel went from third place on the grid to first place in the first corner. However, radio transmissions suggested that the team wanted to swap their drivers, but with Vettel the quicker driver, he remained in front. Vettel retired soon after with a MGU-K problem. Vettel took pole position in Japan, but an abrupt start off the line caused him to momentarily stop before getting away, which allowed Bottas to take the lead; Vettel was not penalized for his jump start. After running in third at the Brazilian Grand Prix for the majority of the race, a safety car allowed Red Bull’s Alexander Albon and an aggressive Leclerc to overtake him. He tried to pass his teammate immediately but the two Ferraris collided, resulting in another retirement for Vettel. He finished fifth in the World Drivers’ Championship, and was outscored by a teammate for only the second time across a season. Ferrari later announced they would not extend Vettel’s contract beyond the 2020 season. Team principal Mattia Binotto explained there was “no specific reason” for the decision, though both parties noted it was an amicable agreement. The season was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic as the first ten races of the original calendar were either rescheduled, postponed or cancelled altogether. Ferrari discovered problems on their car following pre-season testing, forcing them to make a major redesign. The SF1000 lacked pace as Vettel finished the season’s opening race in Austria in 10th place. During the weekend, he was also given a warning for breaching the FIA’s COVID-19 protocols after he was seen mixing with members of his former team Red Bull. The following race, at the Styrian Grand Prix, Vettel retired on the opening lap with rear wing damage following a collision with Leclerc. He ended the season in a disappointing 13th place in the Drivers’ standings, with a third place in Turkey as his best result. Ferrari only finished sixth in the Constructors’ standings, their worst result since 1980, while Vettel’s total of 33 points was the lowest in a full campaign in his Formula One career.
Aston Martin
2021: Aston Martin F1 Team
Vettel joined Aston Martin for the 2021 season, replacing Sergio Pérez. In his debut race weekend in Bahrain, he received a grid penalty in qualifying, forcing him to start last. While Vettel started well, he had a collision with Esteban Ocon, giving him a time penalty and ended up finishing in 15th place. He received five penalty points on his superlicence. Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer reported no concerns, due to a very different car compared to the Ferrari, lack of laps in pre-season testing and a very impressive race start. In the fifth race of the season, Vettel scored his first points for the team with a fifth place finish in Monaco. At the following race, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, he claimed Aston Martin’s first podium with a second place finish. Vettel also finished second in Hungary, but was later disqualified, after his car failed to provide the one litre sample of fuel required. He ended the season in 12th place in the Drivers’ standings, ahead of teammate Stroll. During the season, Vettel made 132 overtakes—the most of any driver—and won the inaugural Overtake Award.
Race of Champions
ettel competed in the 2007 Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium, representing the German team alongside Michael Schumacher, winning the Nations’ Cup title. He also teamed up with Schumacher from 2008 to 2012, winning the Cup on every occasion. Vettel returned to the 2015 Race of Champions, representing Germany together with Nico Hülkenberg. He won his very first individual Race of Champions title that year, beating Tom Kristensen in the final. Vettel and Hülkenberg finished runner-up in the Nations Cup. In 2017, Vettel was eliminated in the first heat for the individual competition, but went on to win the Nations’ Cup for Germany by himself with his seventh victory, after his teammate Pascal Wehrlein was injured earlier in a crash.In the 2019 event, Vettel teamed up with Mick Schumacher, where they finished runners-up in the Nations’ Cup to the Nordic team of Kristensen and Johan Kristoffersson. Vettel was eliminated in the group stages of the individual competition, although he won the ROC Skills Challenge.
Helmet design
From his early days in karting, Vettel worked with helmet designer Jens Munser. At the age of eight, Vettel wanted Sebastian the crab from The Little Mermaid on his helmet. Vettel’s original helmet in Formula One, like most Red Bull-backed drivers, was heavily influenced by the energy drink company logo. New to Vettel’s helmet at the start of 2008 was the incorporation of the red cross shape of the Kreis Bergstraße coat of arms on the front, just underneath the visor, in honour of the region of his birthplace, Heppenheim. After switching to Red Bull in 2009, Vettel regularly used a variety of new helmet designs. Some designs were small changes to his original Red Bull design, while others were completely new designs, such as the one he used at the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix: Vettel had a special white-red helmet design, with black kanji and hiragana for “gives you wings”. Several of his helmet designs also featured his team members. At the 2012 Italian Grand Prix, Vettel celebrated his 50th helmet design with a ‘rusty’ matte look and 50 tallies, indicating his 50 helmet designs in Formula One. Vettel started his 2013 campaign with a design in honour of Felix Baumgartner, for his world record Red Bull Stratos space jump in October 2012. By the end of the 2013 season, he had used 76 different helmet designs throughout his career. Helmet manufacturer Arai have stated Vettel ‘retires’ a helmet design after each win, although he does not need to win to sport a new design. After moving to the Ferrari team before the start of the 2015 season, Vettel insisted that he would try to stick to one design each year, which was also enforced by an FIA rule banning ‘significant’ helmet changes during a season. His new helmet design is white with the German national flag running from front to back from the middle to the viewer’s left-hand side, and his permanent start number 5 on the top. For the 2017 Italian Grand Prix he changed the German flag stripe on his helmet to an Italian flag stripe in celebration of Ferrari’s home race. Following the death of Niki Lauda, Vettel wore a special helmet based on Lauda’s final Ferrari helmet at the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix.

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