As was the case three years ago when Heikki Kovalainen made his debut in the Race of Champions, Sebastian Vettel enjoyed a winning start to his time in the end of season event as he partnered Michael Schumacher to victory in the Nations Cup.

The Toro Rosso driver, who didn't even hold a driver licence when Kovalainen won back in 2004, started his challenge on the event against American Travis Pastrana in the Aston Martin N24, but lost the race to send the quarter-final to a tie-break with Schumacher having already beaten Jimmie Johnson. Schumacher duly won the tie-break to set up a semi-final with England.

A simple 2-0 win enabled Vettel and Schumacher through the final against defending champions Finland, and it looked to be going the Finn's way when Schumacher stalled on the line at the start of heat one to hand Kovalainen the victory.

With Vettel then going up against Marcus Gronholm in his own Focus WRC, it looked likely that the Scandinavian duo would wrap up the crown but Vettel managed to secure a win and take it to a decider against Kovalainen. The teenager then beat the former ROC champion to give Germany the crown, although Kovalainen would later get revenge by defeating Vettel in the opening round of the Race of Champions itself.

"Germans win at Wembley - what's wrong!" he joked to Crash.net Radio afterwards. "It was good fun for us all, even if I lost the first heat I did against Travis Pastrana. Michael managed to get us through as a team and from there we had quite a good performance.

"I don't know what had happened to him in the final but I heard the crowd cheering for Kovalainen which meant I then had to beat Gronholm, which wasn't easy as he was driving his own car. Marcus is one of the best WRC drivers the world has ever seen so I was putting the excuses together so that I could answer when people asked why I had lost but it didn't work out that way.

"I enjoyed it a lot and in the end we won which we didn't expect. The last time I had a trophy like that was in karting so it is nice to get a big one again. I don't know how long it will take to get the next one as it isn't easy in Formula 1."

 

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