Sebastian Vettel

Personal Information

Full Name
Sebastian Vettel
Place of Birth
CountryGermany Germany

About Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel is a retired F1 driver, calling time on his amazing career at the end of 2022.

With four titles and 53 wins to his name, Vettel will go down as one of F1's very best.

Career Stats


Latest News

Full Biography

Sebastian Vettel is a retired F1 driver, calling time on his amazing career at the end of 2022.

With four titles and 53 wins to his name, Vettel will go down as one of F1's very best.

Sebastian Vettel F1 Career - (2008 - 2022)

Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing

After regulations during 2006 allowing a selection of teams - including BMW Sauber - to run third drivers in first free practice, the FIA halted that procedure for 2007 to revert back to the standard trio of free practice sessions contested by all teams. 

As such, Vettel only received two free practice outings with BMW Sauber during the opening two rounds before taking on the reserve role. However, this would see him promoted to a race seat at the United States Grand Prix in place of Kubica,.

Vettel was instantly up to speed in the competitive F1.07 and after qualifying in seventh position, went on to finish eighth to make him the youngest driver (at the time) to score points in F1 at 19 years and 349 days.

His performance was keenly watched by Red Bull, who still managed Vettel’s career, since it was already priming him for a move into F1 for 2008. However, with BMW seemingly also keen to retain the services of the youngster, Red Bull moved ahead with its plans and subsequently offered Vettel the chance to complete the season from Round 11 in place of Scott Speed.

In only its second season of F1 competition, Toro Rosso - formed out of the ashes of the now defunct Minardi team - wasn’t enjoying a marked improvement on its debut year in which it was allowed to run a detuned V10 and only scored a single point.

Using a variant of the previous year’s Red Bull RB3 - itself hardly a front runner - the STR 2 powered by Ferrari V8 engines (rather than Red Bull’s Renault units) was cumbersome and underpowered, even if its results were elevated by being largely quicker than rivals Spyker and Super Aguri.

However, in the hands of Vettel Toro Rosso enjoyed a late season resurgence with the German demonstrating his impressive wet weather prowess at the Fuji Speedway by clawing his way up to third position until a mistake under the safety car saw him rear-end the sister Red Bull of Mark Webber, putting them out of the race.

He was initially punished with a grid penalty for the next race - and sternly criticised by Webber - until amateur video showed Vettel was caught out by leader Lewis Hamilton excessively slowing up front, giving him no time to react.

A week later in China, however, Vettel once again starred in mixed conditions to finish fourth for what was only the team’s second ever points’ finish in the sport.

Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing

With Vettel’s early promotion also containing a deal to compete in 2008, he began the year with an updated version of the STR2 and subsequently struggled to make headway beyond the rear-half of the field.

However, the belated launch of the Ferrari-powered STR3 - delayed because Red Bull was no longer allowed to effectively use ‘hand me down’ designs -  from Monaco onwards delivered his first points’ of the year with a run to fifth position and from thereon Vettel was a regular top ten finisher and often out-performing the Red Bulls.

After notching up top six results in Valencia and in Belgium, Vettel proceeded to pull off one of F1’s biggest shock results with a victory from pole position in the Italian Grand Prix. Benefiting from the levelling playing field of wet conditions for both qualifying and the race, which led to several pre-race favourites further down the order than usual on a topsy-turvy grid, Vettel nonetheless showed exemplary skills in drying conditions to not only control the lead over McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen but continually extend it, winning by more than 12secs.

A remarkable result for a team that was considered - despite the obvious talents of Vettel - a minnow at the beginning of the year, his success came at Toro Rosso’s home venue and served as a poignant moment of glory for the many team members that had served under its former much-loved (but perennially unsuccessful) Minardi guise. 

The win marked the first-ever race win for either of the Red Bull teams in what was considered a sharp indictment for the bigger budget ‘A Team’, not least when Vettel reeled off the year with six top six results from the final seven races to secure eighth in the standings, 14 points ahead of Webber.

Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing

Unsurprisingly Vettel was promoted to Red Bull Racing for the 2009 F1 season, which coincided with the overhaul of technical regulations that introduced revised aerodynamics that made the cars look significantly different, plus innovations such as KERS.

The changes led to a substantial turnaround in the hierarchy with the erstwhile front-runners Ferrari, McLaren and BMW failing to grasp the changes quickly, allowing instead BrawnGP, Red Bull and Toyota to steal a march.

With Vettel now in its armoury and technical director Adrian Newey confident the regulation changes would signal a change in fortunes, Red Bull began the year in buoyant mood.

However, while the Red Bull RB5 was certainly rapid, it was caught napping by BrawnGP’s clever use of a double diffuser, the team having been borne out of the remnants of the Honda project which - having done much of the legwork for the design of the BGP 001 - went on to see it become dominant force with effectively no credit.

For the most part Red Bull led the chase with Vettel the only person able to get close to Brawn’s early season dominance with a win in China - the team’s first - that punctured Jenson Button’s six wins from seven races. 

Thereafter Vettel added three more wins at Silverstone, Suzuka and Abu Dhabi, lifting him to second in the standings, but nine points off Button despite Red Bull proving the more competitive team during the latter half of the year.

Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing

After such a strong end to the 2009 F1 season, Vettel was regarded as the pre-season favourite heading into 2010, a status he’d go on to honour with a spectacular title victory that made him the sport’s youngest ever champion at 23 years and 98 days.

Not that he had it easy, however, in a campaign that only came alive during the latter stages of the year after a rollercoaster of fortunes. Indeed, though Vettel was fearsomely quick on his day, he only had two wins to his name coming into the second-half of the year and was adrift of what seemed to be a three-way title fight between Fernando Alonso, team-mate Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton. 

Matters weren’t helped by brewing friction between himself and Webber, perpetuated by a high-speed collision during the Turkish Grand Prix after which each driver blamed the other and refused to take any responsibility for what was a catastrophic double DNF for the team.

With four races of the season remaining, Vettel’s title hopes seemed slim from fourth overall, not least because Webber led him at the head of the standings by 21 points. However, a win in Japan and Brazil gave him a fighting chance heading into the Abu Dhabi finale, despite an ill-timed DNF in Korea in between.

One of three drivers with a mathematical chance, Vettel had the tallest odds with 231 points - 15 points adrift of leader Alonso and seven points behind Webber.

However, Vettel did his bit to perfection with a resounding win from pole position, leaving it up to Alonso and Webber to secure the points they needed to hold him off. In the end both drivers would suffer tyre issues that put them out of position, with an incensed Alonso only able to finish seventh, with Webber eighth. 

It meant, despite not leading the standings at any other stage in the year, Vettel was crowned champion by four points.

Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing

Buoyed by the momentum of his last gasp title win, Vettel made it look considerably easier in 2011 as he strolled to a second consecutive championship.


Laying the foundation with six wins and three second place finishes from the opening nine races, Vettel was already 78 points clear before the second-half of the season. 

While tweaks to the regulations by the FIA were seen by some as a way to rein in the German’s runaway advantage, Vettel rammed home the initiative during the second half of the year with five more victories to close the season with a vast 122 point margin over runner-up Fernando Alonso.

Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing

With a target fixed firmly on Vettel’s back for 2012, it appeared Ferrari and McLaren had closed the gap to Red Bull over the winter. However, with a tweak to the Pirelli tyres delivering some wild results in the opening rounds - leading to seven different race winners from the opening seven races, Vettel was still considered a title contender.

Even so, with seven rounds of the season remaining Vettel appeared out of the running having slipped 39 points behind Ferrari’s Alonso.

Nevertheless, Vettel struck back with a dominant run of four consecutive wins in Singapore, Japan, Korea and India that turned his season around and put him ahead of Alonso with three rounds to go. He’d go on to protect his advantage during the final event, defeating Alonso by three points for his third world title.

Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing

After the close-call of 2012, Vettel set about stamping his mark on the so-called ‘Red Bull era’ by making it four-in-a-row, an endeavour he achieved in a record-breaking rout of dominance.

Scoring four wins during first-half of the year - one of which included a controversial and vilifying success in Malaysia during which he defied team orders by overtaking team-mate Webber - Vettel had set the foundation for what seemed destined to be a quadruple success.

And yet Vettel took his form to another level during the second-half, steaming clear with a spectacular run of nine wins from the remaining nine races, in so doing confirming his status as the ‘next Schumacher’ by matching his countryman’s record for most wins in a season (13).

Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing

Vettel’s fourth title brought with it the end of the V8 era, with the 2014 F1 season heralding new technically impressive, more efficient - yet more complex - V6 Hybrid engines and more changes to the chassis.

Posing a fresh challenge for Vettel, whose driving style was well-suited to the outgoing cars, the fresh era brought about a fresh look at the front of the field as Mercedes stole a march on the opposition with a far superior car that was both more powerful than the opposition, as well as seemingly easier to handle.

Mercedes’ effort was in stark contrast to Red Bull who, despite doing its bit by designing a car that played to its strengths in terms of handling, was let down by a Renault power unit that was slower and significantly less reliable.

It meant the team was playing catch up for much of the year, leaving Vettel well off the pace from the word go. Worse still, though it was clear Red Bull didn’t have the means with which to challenge Mercedes, Vettel found himself being comfortably out-performed by new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo too.

A clearly frustrated Vettel could only manage four podiums all year - compared with Ricciardo’s three wins - which prompted him to look elsewhere from 2015 and led to him leaving Red Bull for the first time in his career to join Ferrari.

Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari

As a German in a Ferrari, Vettel’s arrival at the Scuderia certainly drew obvious parallels with a certain Schumacher some 19 years earlier. 

Back then Schumacher found a team desperate to turn around a lengthy slump and while the Ferrari of 2015 certainly didn’t have to look so far back to find its most recent success, the Italian outfit was - like Red Bull - reeling from a disappointing, Mercedes-influenced 2014 campaign. 

Vettel’s arrival installed fresh belief in the team though and its revitalised racer appeared to relish a new status as relative underdog amid a Mercedes stronghold that while dominant, showed fractures as a consequence of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s simmering internal feuds.

It didn’t take long for Vettel to make his presence felt with a win in only his second ‘red’ race in Malaysia and while it didn’t quite kick-start the title tilt many were hoping for, he looked back to his best with two more victories in Hungary and Singapore, plus ten podiums earning him third overall.

With Ferrari seen as the emerging threat to Mercedes’ dominance heading into 2016, anticipation was certainly raised that Vettel could mount a more significant challenge.

However, while Mercedes took a step forward, Ferrari’s progress appeared to stall, which coupled to a revival of fortunes for Red Bull saw Vettel reduced to something of a bit-part player all year.

Indeed, the heightened expectations appeared to ruffle Vettel’s feathers at times. He erroneously blamed Daniil Kvyat for an incident at the start of the Chinese Grand Prix that took both himself and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen out, before the Red Bull racer again drew Vettel’s ire after a collision at the start of the Russian Grand Prix, which he branded ‘suicidal’.

However, things took a more sinister turn later in the year when Vettel was crossed up in a skirmish with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo during the closing stages of the Mexican Grand Prix. Believing to have been denied a podium after Verstappen ran off track and rejoined ahead of him, Vettel took to the radio to deliver a tirade of expletives aimed at FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting.

Though he was indeed given third place back when Verstappen was penalised, the German ended up losing it anyway for a separate punishment for blocking Ricciardo under braking. Despite the alarming vitriol, Vettel escaped punishment and later apologised for the outburst.

Over the course of the year, Vettel failed to score a race win and was beaten to third overall by Ricciardo, despite picking up seven podiums along the way.

The 2017 F1 season began significantly better for Vettel with wins from two of the opening three races in Australia and Bahrain, the first of which was achieved with a masterstroke strategy that saw Ferrari - unusually - outwit Mercedes.

A third win in Monaco upped Vettel’s burgeoning advantage out front, with a fourth success of the year in Hungary allowing him to take a 14 point lead into the summer break.

However, on the return to action in Belgium (nine rounds to go), Hamilton and Mercedes pushed up into another gear with five wins from the next six races, which coupled to a pair of ill-timed DNFs in Singapore (collision) and Japan (technical) saw the championship fight get away from him. 

Amid this though was a bizarre incident during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix for which Vettel was widely condemned when - under the safety car - he intentionally pulled alongside Hamilton and turned into him, a reaction to what he felt was the Briton brake-testing him. Vettel was given a stop-go penalty in the race but received no further sanctions after an apology.

He’d end the year as runner-up 46 points adrift of Hamilton, who drew level with Vettel on the all-time list with his fourth World Championship title.

While Hamilton and Vettel were pitched against one another in a so-called ‘fight for five’ titles coming into 2018, once again the German couldn’t keep pace with his Mercedes rival despite the perception Ferrari had come into the year with a stronger car than Mercedes.

Though Vettel began the year well with victories in each of the opening two races, errors crept into his armoury just as Hamilton found his groove, putting distance between them even before a catastrophic error at his home German Grand Prix led him to slide off track while leading.

By the second-half of the year Hamilton was again untouchable, reeling off eight wins from the latter 11 races to romp home to a fifth world title, with Vettel runner-up again.

Coming into the 2019 F1 season, Ferrari were again perceived to have gotten the jump on Mercedes ahead of the year after a strong showing in testing but once the opening round had rolled around it appeared its rivals had been employing a degree of sandbagging.

It led to a lacklustre start to the year that yielded only five podiums from the opening half of the season. This included a controversial loss of his victory on the road in Canada when Vettel - while under pressure from Hamilton - made a mistake at Turn 3 that caused his car to snap into oversteer. 

Correcting it but coming across the grass into the path of Hamilton, who was squeezed close to the wall on the exit, Vettel was handed a five-second time penalty that dropped him to second place on the classification. In protest, when Vettel climbed out of the Ferrari in parc ferme he took Hamilton’s No.1 board and placed it in front of his car.

While many agreed the penalty was harsh, it was one of several curious errors that raised questions over the course of the year, most notably an innocuous spin to a stop during the Italian Grand Prix - a race he’d never won in Ferrari colours - that led him to lurch forward onto the track to recover right into the path of the oncoming field. Clipping an unsighted Lance Stroll to send him off track, he was given a stop-and-go penalty as punishment.

Ironically, his error-strewn performance coincided with new team-mate Charles Leclerc picking up his second win in little more than a week. While Vettel largely had the measure of Kimi Raikkonen in the four years they spent as team-mates, Vettel found a more precocious match in Leclerc, the young Monegasque emerging as the season’s standout in what was only his second year of F1.

The frustration of having his number one status at Ferrari questioned gave rise to rumours of sizzling tensions behind the scenes, which led to a controversial collision during the Brazilian Grand Prix when Leclerc, having just passed Vettel, found the German attempting to re-pass at the next bend, only for the pair to collide and retire. 

With Vettel’s sole win of the year coming in Singapore - compared with Leclerc two at Spa and Monza - the decision was taken during the longer-than-anticipated off-season that his contract wouldn’t be renewed beyond 2020.

Coming into 2020 knowing this would be his final season with Ferrari, while Vettel might have hoped to end his tenure at the team with a flourish, he would instead find himself hobbled by a woefully uncompetitive car he couldn’t extract the best from.

Indeed, a ruling by the FIA during the closing stages of the 2019 F1 season had declared Ferrari to be in breach of fuel flow regulations, which at the time appeared to have been giving the team a considerable advantage over a single lap in qualifying as demonstrated by a streak of six pole positions in the run up to the US Grand Prix.

Though the FIA was coy in explaining exactly what Ferrari had done wrong - much to the disdain of its rivals - the car was subsequently well off the pace in the final two events of the year.

As such, by the time the 2020 F1 season eventually arrived, Ferrari hadn’t gotten on top of the forced re-design and found itself with an engine strangled of its power and a chassis that was unwieldy to drive. While Leclerc made the best of a bad situation - safe in the knowledge he had a contract in his back pocket - Vettel barely played a part during the year, finishing more races outside the points than in them.

His only highlight proved to be a third place finish in the Turkish Grand Prix as he laboured to a lowly 13th in the overall standings with 33 points, compared with Leclerc on 98.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR21.
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR21.


Flashes of brilliance combined with general inconsistency, Vettel's first year with Aston Martin was generally underwhelming. 

The changes to the floor regulations for 2021 hit Aston Martin (and Mercedes) hardest as the team went from having the third-fastest car to often the sixth or seventh.

Vettel showed his quality in Azerbaijan to finish second and was unfortunate to be disqualified after finishing on the podium in Hungary.

Sebastian Vettel (GER), Aston Martin F1 Team
Sebastian Vettel (GER), Aston Martin F1 Team

Aston Martin's poor start to 2022 meant the writing was on the wall in terms of their chances of retaining the four-time champion.

Ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel announced his retirement from F1 at the end of the year.

Vettel ended the year strongly but it wasn't enough for Aston Martin to topple Alfa Romeo in the race for sixth in the standings.

Latest Photos