Six out of eight race wins to start a Formula One season. Seven poles. No finishes lower than 2nd. Sebastian Vettel is having one hell of a year. Better than Niki Lauda in 1976 (five wins of first nine, three poles). Better than Jim Clark in 1965 (six wins of first seven, four poles). Better than Aryton Senna in 1991 or Nigel Mansell in 1992. Better even than Michael Schumacher in 2002 or 2004.
This author has been following F1 for more than 40 years, and I’ve no idea what will happen. Many pundits, and drivers, think the World Championship has all but been decided. Now of course, the FIA is meddling with rules impacting (whether or not designed) Red Bull Racing, using technical regulations to affect GP results — and applying different “off-throttle” rules at Silverstone for different teams, giving lie to Vettel’s nonplussed reaction that “it’s the same for all of us.” Yet no matter what they throw at them, Christian Horner’s boys are atill quick. (Blow my off-throttle diffuser, Charlie Whiting!)
|Vettel v. Schumacher After 69 GPs|
Looking solely to what Vettel has accomplished thus far, 2011 is already a landmark. Seb’s on par with the F1 immortals. At least for a moment. It really doesn’t matter what happens in the balance of the season, in the British GP on Sunday or later. Chillax and enjoy. This is the fourth (or 5th if you include Kimi Raikkonen in ’07, which is deserved) dramatic and dynamic F1 season in consecutive years. Grand Prix motor racing is a fascinating sport. It’s just that the rules-makers act, as they always have, like a bunch of catty teenage girls!