With Sebastian Vettel winning his fourth straight Driver’s World Championship, the question of whether it’s him or the car which has actually won the championships has come into the light once again.
There is no doubt that this question will continue to be asked for decades to come as Vettel has now matched the likes of Fangio, Prost and Schumacher, and passed greats such as Senna and Lauder in number of championships won.
Yet it should be quite evident that Vettel is now one of the greats of formula 1 as he is, even by his greatest critics, being compared to these past heroes of the sport.
No other driver’s achievements who are currently on the grid can be compared to those of Aryton Senna, Alain Prost, Niki Lauda or Michael Schumacher. However, Vettel’s achievements can be.
Also, statistically speaking, Vettel could beat the king of stats himself, Schumacher, by the time he retires. After all, Vettel is only 26 and still has at least ten years of racing left in him.
Vettel indeed chases the records laid out before him and at times, easily breaks them.
However, it is the easiness in which he breaks these records which has given rise to the opinion that it is the Adrian Newey designed Red Bull doing most of the work for him.
The Red Bull is clearly the best car in formula 1 today. But without a driver, the car remains silent and still.
It takes a racing driver to make it a race car; to tease out the potential it has to offer.
How much potential it delivers is inherently decided on the quality of the driver at the wheel.
Therefore, a formula 1 car without a competent operator is useless. The potential may be there but it will never be realized until it is brought to the surface by one who can manage to do so.
Sebastian Vettel has done just this. He has worked tirelessly to get the most out of his Red Bull and it is clear that he is succeeding in doing so.
He deserves to be heralded as one of the greats of formula 1, because what he has achieved is purely remarkable.