Schumacher era more boring, says Vettel

Michael Schumacher's Ferrari was usually '30-60 seconds ahead' as opposed to Red Bull's 10 seconds, according to three-time world champion.
Sebastian Vettel has won three Formula One world championships to Michael Schumacher's seven. Jens Buettner / EPA
Sebastian Vettel has won three Formula One world championships to Michael Schumacher's seven. Jens Buettner / EPA

Sebastian Vettel believes Michael Schumacher’s era of domination was far more boring than his own run of supremacy.

Vettel stands on the brink of winning his fourth consecutive Formula One world title in Japan on Sunday, a feat achieved twice previously by Juan Manuel Fangio and Schumacher – the latter claiming five in a row.

With a 77-point cushion on Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Vettel needs a victory at Suzuka and for the Spaniard to finish ninth or worse to claim another place in the sport’s record books.

Such superiority, however, resulted in Lewis Hamilton remarking after Vettel’s victory in Korea on Sunday that he felt sorry for the fans as the racing had become as predictable as it was in Schumacher’s day.

The 28-year-old Englishman suggested he used to watch the start of a race, fall asleep, and wake up again knowing Schumacher had won.

“That’s a compliment, first of all,” said Vettel.

“But it’s very different. There’s probably one race which was a bit of an exception.

“If you take Singapore [last month], the gaps we had and were able to build up were incredible, to lap two seconds quicker than the cars behind us.

“If you take Korea, which was more similar to Spa [Belgian GP], the gap was something between three and six seconds for the whole race.

“If you look at 10 years ago [in Schumacher’s time], it was more like 30 to 60 seconds, which is a big difference.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice cushion to have in the car when you see you’re three seconds down the road.

“But equally, you know if you make one stupid mistake – in Korea, for example, a lock-up was very likely and three seconds is nothing compared to 30 or 60.”

Hamilton, believing his words had been misconstrued, latter took to Twitter to extol Vettel’s virtues, proclaiming him to be “a great champion” and “a human being who is funny and humble”.

Vettel was at least grateful for such comments, adding: “Obviously it’s very nice to hear something like that, and I can only give it back. There is respect amongst the drivers.

“Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that gets written and said, but the most important thing is when you go up to another driver, whether you feel respected or not, and I think that is the case.

“Lewis is one of the best drivers currently in Formula One. I have been getting along quite well with him lately, so I can only say ‘thank you very much’ and give it back.”

Published: October 10, 2013 04:00 AM


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