F1: Boy in a hurry becomes the man they all have to beat
The boy from Heppenheim burst on to the Formula One scene in 2007, when he stood in for the injured Robert Kubica at BMW Sauber in the US GP.
At 19, he was the youngest man ever to take part in a Grand Prix weekend. He immediately broke another record: nine seconds into his F1 career, he was fined $1,000 for speeding in the pitlane. Clearly, he was impatient. Not a bad sign, since that is usually allied to speed.
"I'm not very patient," he admits. "When I started karting I was kind of addicted to it. I wanted to do it again and again. I wanted to be quicker than everyone else. I was attracted by the speed itself, but also by the challenge of being faster than everybody else."
That rush was evident when he became the youngest driver to score points in a Grand Prix, with eighth place that day at Indianapolis; later the youngest driver to lead a race, the youngest to take a pole and, at Monza in 2008, when he steered his Toro Rosso brilliantly, the youngest to win a Grand Prix.
Besides a penchant for breaking records -- one he indulged further yesterday by becoming the youngest ever world champion -- he has a sense of humour (Monty Python and Little Britain figure highly) and an impetuous streak that humanised him. Not surprisingly, he became Red Bull's poster boy.
TV viewers have seen him schoolboyishly happy but also angry, as he was after crashing in Turkey. "Generally I have my feelings under control," he says. "I would say that I am naturally happy, not angry. I enjoy what I'm doing. I love F1, but there are some things that make me angry -- things not going according to my wishes or plans."
He thinks for a moment. "I can't stand traffic! I don't like queuing very much. I can't wait for things to happen. If I want to do something, then I want to do it now."
A world championship seemed an inevitable part of Vettel's future, but it came a little sooner than most expected. You wouldn't bet against several more, and if that record-breaking streak continues, perhaps even the great Michael Schumacher's achievements will be overshadowed. (© Independent News Service)