Formula 1

Vettel: Certainly not meant for the Midfield!

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Some time ago, there appeared a byline, of the many one habitually reads from the tectonic world of Formula 1. The line quickly became the subject of several retweets. It found its way onto Instagram where it was accompanied by an intense picture of the man.

It read as follows:

“I am not here to compete in the midfield.” The sayer of these words was a certain four time F1 world champion. Someone who went down fighting for over half a decade the only driver on the current grid who’s been knighted- Sir Lewis Hamilton.

There are things that drivers say that can often be ignored. The chuffed up talks. The lines said in over enthusiasm. The signals. Gestures. The posturing. You know them. We’ve heard them all too often. Then there are statements said by the likes of Sebastian Vettel that stand out for they are backed by performances.

Performances that have seen the famous Deutscher, a winner of 53 Grands Prix put his Aston Martin team into a dominant position, if only in the midfield.

Where they stand

At present, then Aston Martin are on P7 on the Constructor Standings with 77 points. But where Sebastian Vettel stands in this, is on the lion’s share of point contribution- his 43 points pushing a hungry Briton constructor northward.

He’s clearly 9 points ahead of his team’s blue-eyed boy: the son of the owner of the team, Lance Stroll.

Fundamentally speaking, there’s not much to note about an Formula 1 team that failed to score on twenty-four point scoring occasions, which is when you consider the no points finish of both drivers this year.

But that Vettel, when the opportunity came, collected whatever points he could with both hands gives firm indication of why he wasn’t bluffing when he said he’s not here to be in the midfield.

At Baku, when all thought of a Hamilton and Verstappen finish on the podium, the presence of Sebastian Vettel on the podium was an ultimate leveler, instead of simply being an astonishing sight.

Here was a driver collecting P2 in the end, who had failed to get going in the season’s first four races.

This, despite being a mega fact, will likely be forgotten but shouldn’t be. If anyone wished to create one of the most surprising and yet, ghastliest of 2021 trivias, then stating the following wouldn’t be such a bad idea:

Name the first four race finishes for Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel in 2021? The answer: P15, P15, P13 and P13.

Name the only driver who bagged the only podium for Aston Martin until November 2021? The answer: Sebastian Vettel.

Through disappointments and heartaches, car set up problems and even a sorry looking “Disqualified” result as seen at the Hungaroring, such a blithe on his racing resume, Sebastian Vettel has seen it all in 2021 and continuously fought on.

Much like several gospel truths in Formula 1, of the kinds that Senna and Schumacher are two of the greatest ever to have graced the sport, there’s another truth that can’t- and mustn’t- be undone in the modern conception of the sport:

Anyone who wanted to understand the meaning of effort and the power of persistence should simply look at Sebastian Vettel and be reminded that “no matter how bad the times look, never say never.”

So how’s that?

Some months ago, prior to the start of this season, and what a great season this has turned out to be, Sebastian Vettel became, much too suddenly, a ‘former’ Ferrari driver. With the red door shut on the German, it was quickly labeled that it was all over for the F1 driver.

And here he is again, putting all his energies behind a team that believed in him. And now the team that put faith in him has seen it been rewarded.

Today, Aston Martin, who might be 35 adrift of Alpha Tauri are still 54 points out in the lead over the 8th placed Williams.

For a driver that, strictly speaking, has been aligned with a very midfield and will remain-in-the-midfield car Sebastian Vettel has actually gone beyond the call of duty in pushing and pushing incessantly a machine that has often looked devoid of pace even when fighting an Alfa Romeo C41.

And yet, it’s the man with the toothed smile and wide-eyed responses in media briefings who has recorded against his name 115 overtakes, showing great flair and promise in a machine that would anyday refrain from participating in the knockout punches that Vettel has made it perform!

One reckons, if that’s not a sign of true greatness, then what is? Imagine, what might the mega champion achieve in 2022 if he were to be aligned with a car that could support him with a bit more pace and could perform minus any slacking and mishits in new and existing circuits?

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Main Image Credits Embed from Getty Images

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