Red Bull’s newly crowned four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has no big weaknesses and is developing into the perfect driver, according to Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey.
The 26-year-old became the youngest driver to win four world championship titles when he triumphed in Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix – his eighth win in 10 races and 10th of the season.
Vettel, who joined Red Bull in 2009 after being promoted from the team’s junior outfit Toro Rosso, and has since gone on to win the title in four of the next five years to join the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost in an exclusive club.
Newey said: “He’s not going to get worse, that’s for sure. He’s going to continue to develop, though it’s difficult to see how he can develop from this season.”
Vettel’s first two seasons with Red Bull were exciting as he showed flashes of brilliance along with errors in judgement – namely when he collided with team-mate Mark Webber in the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix when they battled for the lead.
However, he finished second in the standings in his first season with Red Bull before snatching his debut title at the final race of the season in 2010. The following season was dominant – he won six of the first nine and finished second in the other three – as he cut out the mistakes and hammered home his advantage.
The German had to work harder in 2012, but four straight wins from Singapore in September proved crucial and this season he crucially clocked up consistent points when the car wasn’t performing well early in the year and then took advantage when it was – winning six races in a row to wrap up the title with three races to spare.
“His driving has gone from very talented but slightly raw at times in, let’s say, 2009, to incredibly well rounded now, added Newey. “In 2009 and 2010 you could occasionally criticise him for making slightly ill-judged moves and hence having accidents.
“You could criticise him, possibly, for not being able to overtake. I think some people, possibly, felt that, if he didn’t start from pole and control the race from the front, then he was not so good. You really can’t make those criticisms any more. It’s difficult to see a chink in his armoury. He learns all the time.”
“Like other great drivers he can drive while considering and planning what he’s going to do next, and then get out of the car and continue to analyse and learn what happened so that next time he’s got that tiny bit more knowledge.
“I see it with him all the time. Every time he gets in the car he gets in with a bit more knowledge than he had last time.”