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Vettel still not an F1 great, says Stewart

Jackie Stewart: Vettel's won three World Championships now but he has unquestionably had the very best car for three consecutive years...

Three-time F1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart has reiterated the belief that Sebastian Vettel still can't be considered a 'great of the sport', despite the fact the German won his third title in succession last month in Brazil.

In an interview on Sky Sports F1, Stewart emphasised that while he does rate the Red Bull Racing man very highly, he thinks the 25-year-old still needs to prove himself in lesser machinery before he can be ranked alongside the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.

Stewart also added that it is foolish to grade a current driver against those of the past while they are still actively competing.

“I don't think anyone can [be considered a great of the sport] while they're still racing. I don't think you can be considered that way until time has passed. It's like I don't think there should be a Hall of Fame [place] for somebody because they did well last year,” Stewart explained.

“He's won three World Championships now but he has unquestionably had the very best car for three consecutive years if you like. So it's not that I'm in any way diminishing his achievement - I think he's the most mature 25-year-old F1 driver I've ever experienced or seen or witnessed, so my respect for his qualities are fantastic.

"But just because he's won three World Championships doesn't necessarily mean he's up to Fangio or he's up to [Alain] Prost or [Jim] Clark or [Niki] Lauda or [Nelson] Piquet.

"You've got to do it with the less good cars and you've got to see where the real opposition's coming from in order for that to happen.

“But having said that, because of his age he should eventually without doubt be one of the greatest drivers in the world.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sir Jackie Stewart (GBR) and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) CEO Formula One Group (FOM)
08.07.2012- Race, 3rd position Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 and Sir Jackie Stewart (GBR)
Jackie Stewart, former World Champion
24.03.2012- Saturday Practice, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director and Sir Jackie Stewart (GBR)
08.09.2012- Sir Jackie Stewart (GBR)
18.11.2012 - Sir Jackie Stewart (GBR)

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Mike Gaston - Unregistered

December 13, 2012 12:38 PM

Vettel is without doubt a brilliant driver who came out on top of one of the best ever F1 grids in one of the closest ever F1 World Championships. However he has yet to show that he can consistently get the maximum out of an inferior car as can Alonso and Hamilton, the other two top drivers on this years grid. Lets judge all three of them for greatness when they finally hang up their helmets. Lets also hope that's a long long time from now!


December 13, 2012 8:16 PM

I agree with JYS on a few levels. Firstly you can't really judge a drivers career while they are still active. Fair judgement comes after a career has ended. Secondly, you can't fairly compare drivers of different eras. Thirdly, I can't consider Vettel an all time great YET. He's done very little wrong so far, proved to be a fantastic driver who can deliver the goods even when under real pressure but it's still too soon for me to put him in my all time top 10, I'm pretty sure he'll get there in due course though.

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