Sebastian Vettel announced this Thursday, July 28 his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the season. The four-time German world champion (2010-2013) will leave behind him the memories of a talent as raw as it was precocious, revealed very early on by Toro Rosso before becoming the youngest world champion in history with Red Bull, and of remarkable longevity. Nevertheless, one does not build such a list without a few bloodshed, clashes and terrible errors of judgment, and Sebastian Vettel is no exception to the rule. The German has repeatedly disappointed as overstepped the bounds by alienating some of his teammates. An anthology of moments that Sebastian Vettel would like to forget, but which also contributed to forging his legend.
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A tumultuous relationship with Mark Webber
After becoming the youngest vice-world champion in history in 2009, Sebastian Vettel has the fangs for his second season with Red Bull, with Mark Webber as his teammate. The Australian and the German dominate the debates at the world championship and find themselves tied on points before the Turkish round in Istanbul. On the 40th lap, poleman Webber led the way ahead of Vettel, a perfect result for Red Bull, who instructed its two drivers to maintain positions. The German did not hear it that way and attempted an overtaking maneuver on the Australian, which did not change his trajectory. Contact is inevitable and the two drivers go into the background, to the delight of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button (McLaren). Mark Webber will finish 3rd, but the authoritarian attempt of the young German serves as a warning.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 5, 2021
Three years and three championship titles in his favor later, Sebastian Vettel continues to give his all to increase his mastery in F1, even if it means disobeying his team from the second round of the season. As in Turkey three years earlier, Mark Webber leads the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix ahead of his teammate. In his last stint, the Australian kept his single-seater and his tyres, reassured, he thought, by the instructions to “Multimap 21” indicated by the Red Bull low wall, which ordered positions to be maintained and the double to be preserved. Bad luck, Sebastian Vettel only does as he pleases, victoriously attacks Webber 11 laps from the finish and signs the 1st of his 13 victories of the year. Disillusioned, Webber plays the indignant and explains in mondovision that “en the end Seb made his own decision and he will be protected as usual. It’s like that »
“F*** off Charlie”
After having generously garnished Red Bull’s prize list, Sebastian Vettel is seduced by the unique opportunity to follow in the footsteps of his idol Michael Schumacher by joining Ferrari from 2015. If his first year at Maranello is mixed ( 3 victories), he was a big disappointment the following year with only 7 podiums and no success. The German will completely exceed the limits on the occasion of the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel is then struggling with the fiery Max Verstappen (Red Bull) for the gain of 3rd place at the end of the race. The Dutchman defends his position with such tenacity that he crosses the limits of the track. Furious, Vettel asks his wall to demand that Verstappen return his position. A request to which the race director, Charlie Whiting, does not accede, which has the gift of knocking the German out of his hinges: “ Here’s my message to Charlie: fuck you. Honestly, fuck you. The difference in language is such that it is Maurizio Arrivabene, team principal of the Scuderia, who is obliged to calm down his driver! Finally, neither Verstappen nor Vettel, both penalized will reach the Mexican podium.
Bumper cars in Baku
The following season, Sebastian Vettel started the 2017 vintage with a bang. He won in Melbourne, Bahrain and Monaco and finished 2nd in Shanghai, Sochi and Barcelona, a pace of a real contender for the world crown. At the GP of Azerbaijan however, Vettel will again switch to the dark side of Formula 1. The Azeri round being punctuated by incidents, Vettel finds himself behind Hamilton in tight rows behind the safety car. During this harmless situation, Vettel was surprised by Hamilton braking and crashed into the back of his Mercedes. Furious, Vettel goes up to the Briton, whom he accuses of having crushed, and voluntarily gives him a steering wheel. The Ferrari driver will logically be sanctioned with a 10-second penalty for “Dangerous driving”, and the German pretends not to understand the sanction… Sebastian Vettel will then be left behind by Lewis Hamilton in the fight for the title in the second part of season.
Tears of Hockenheim
In 2018, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari showed great consistency and fought an intense duel against Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. The German is leading the Drivers’ championship as his national Grand Prix looms, at Hockenheim, which he has won only once (in 2013). 15 laps from the finish, Vettel is the leader on a wet track due to the sudden arrival of light rain. The German did not take enough precautions and arrived too quickly in the Sachs curve. It slides from the back, crosses the gravel trap and ends up in the wall at low speed. Mad with rage, Vettel cursed himself and spread his sobbing apologies to his low Ferrari wall. Height of his misfortune, Lewis Hamilton is essential and switches the fight for the title in his favor. This is undoubtedly the turning point of the 2018 season.
Twilight at Ferrari
After having twice missed the opportunity to join the fight for the world title, Sebastian Vettel has lived through two very difficult last seasons with the Scuderia. During the 2019 season, the young Charles Leclerc was much more comfortable than him at the wheel of the Ferrari, boosted it is true by a controversial engine, and the German accumulated errors. At the Italian GP, on the grounds of the team, he spun alone and collided with Lance Stroll (Racing Point) trying to reach the track as quickly as possible. But the real hitch of the season comes in Brazil. Overtaken by Alexander Albon (3rd, Red Bull) then by Charles Leclerc (4th), the German places himself in the exhausts of his teammate, goes outside and hits his teammate in the front right. Vettel also suffered a puncture in the case and the two Ferrari drivers retired, five laps from the end… A few months later, Ferrari and Vettel failed to reach an agreement concerning the continuation of their collaboration beyond the 2020 season. .