Top 10 F1 Drivers of the Year 2013:
Red Bull Racing
2012 Driver of the Year position:
A fourth world title and 13 wins on the year – nine of which came consecutively in a late-season blitz - say it all really.
Despite a relatively quiet start to the campaign, Sebastian Vettel ultimately cruised to the crown thanks to a combination of Red Bull development, a controversial switch of tyres and his own natural ability.
Although Red Bull team boss Christian Horner joked that an exclusive mid-season Pirelli test had been at the root of the squad's success, Vettel still had to pilot the RB9, an evolution of 2012's title-winning machine. True, the switch to tyres more closely resembling Pirelli's 2012 construction played a significant role in Red Bull's ascension – Adrian Newey admitted that it had been easier to develop the car on friendly rubber – but Vettel was able to do things that team-mate Mark Webber couldn't and proved irresistible from the summer break onwards.
Prior to the interval, Vettel had managed four victories – including first time on Canadian and German soil – but really came into his own from Belgium onwards, qualifying on the front row every time, including six poles, and going on to take nine, largely comfortable, wins. His annual tally could have been increased by one – to an all-time record 14 – had it not been for gremlins while leading at Silverstone, but Vettel easily joined another exclusive club as the youngest four-time champion, emulating the feats of Fangio and Schumacher by taking his titles consecutively.
The success probably acted as fuel for his detractors' fire – the 'finger' was gradually toned down even if immediate post-victory celebrations remained typically Vettel – but the German did not help his popularity ratings by appearing to ignore team orders in Malaysia, passing team-mate Webber to claim a controversial win that made 'Multi21' a household phrase...
's 2013 F1 Driver of the Year – top ten to date:
4. Nico Hulkenberg
5. Romain Grosjean
6. Nico Rosberg
7. Mark Webber
8. Lewis Hamilton
9. Valtteri Bottas
10. Daniel Ricciardo
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