Renowned Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber described Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel as a “very special” talent after the young German took out his third F1 championship in the season finale Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Vettel became just one of three drivers in F1 history to collect three consecutive championships.
Webber finished fourth in Brazil and sixth overall in the championship standings, failing to capitalise on back-to-back third place finishes over the past two years.
The Australian had only good things to say about his teammate. "He's in a club on his own now," Webber said of Vettel.
"Very, very special to do it three times in a row. Last year was a little more straightforward, but this year was a bit more difficult, as was 2010.
"Three in a row is going some, for sure. So I congratulate him, it's a great effort."
The difficulty Webber referred to stemmed for Vettel’s trouble earlier in the year dealing with the ban of double diffusers. Red Bull modified its exhaust layout to give their car at better overall pace, but as a result it caused understeering, something that didn’t exactly suit Vettel’s aggressive turn-in style. After a rough showing early on in the season, Vettel recovered brilliantly.
He became the youngest champion in F1 history in 2010, but that season was also a difficult one. Spectacular form to end that year, and a lot of luck, helped him eventually take home his first championship, but both 2010 and 2012 proved to be far more challenging that the run he had last year with the dominant Red Bull car.
Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso ultimately fell short of Vettel in 2012, but he may have been the better driver, making the most out of a lesser car.
Some experts have claimed championship number three was as much a result of Red Bull perfecting various developments at the right time as it was Vettel’s driving, however the German’s performance never really came into question. Time and time again in 2012 he fought from behind and salvaged races that appeared to be lost- the mark of a true champion.
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