Sebastian Vettel is better even than defending Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, reckons the top flight's ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone - after the driver who named his car 'Kate's Dirty Sister' delivered the energy drinks-backed outfit its breakthrough victory in the Chinese Grand Prix at the weekend.

Vettel produced a consummate performance in torrential conditions to prevail in Shanghai, storming away from the field early on and later forcing his way past world championship leader Jenson Button to reclaim his advantage following his second pit visit - even though he knew his Brawn GP rival still had to make another stop of his own.

The drive drew comparisons with some of those produced by Vettel's countryman, the legendary seven-time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher - and Ecclestone was clearly impressed.

"I think he is," the 78-year-old replied, when asked by British newspaper the Daily Telegraph if the 21-year-old from Heppenheim - already the sport's youngest-ever grand prix-winner - is the most talented and promising up-and-coming driver on the grid. "Put him in a car that can win and he will. Lewis is super, but I think this kid...time will tell."

"It's difficult for me to say as Lewis doesn't sit in our car," countered Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, "but for sure, in coming years, Seb is going to be one of the dominant drivers in F1.

"He has just matured so quickly. I don't know whether you have listened to him in the cockpit, but the spare capacity that he has whilst driving the car - for me that marks him out as a real star."

Little Britain and Monty Python fan Vettel also revealed at the weekend that he gives his cars female names and personalities, reasoning that 'it's important to have a close relationship with a car' - before quipping to BBC F1 commentator and former RBR ace David Coulthard: "Anyway, you are the man when it comes to women..."

"Like a ship, a car should be named after a girl as it's sexy," he contended. "My original car was called Kate, but then it got smashed in the opening race in Australia. We called this one Kate's Dirty Sister, because it is more aggressive and faster."