Here’s some video I found of Sebastian Vettel, one year before he made his F1 race debut. Vettel, who was racing in the F3 Euroseries at the time, got a chance to enter the World Series by Renault race at Misano in Italy. As the video shows, it worked out rather well for him.
Vettel qualified fourth on the grid for his first WSR race, and took pole position for the second race in the Misano double-header. An impressive performance given the step up in performance between F3 and WSR.
In the first race he muscled past Andy Soucek for third on lap one, but couldn’t make any impression on the leaders Pastor Maldonado and Ben Hanley.
But as it turned out, he didn’t have to. Hanley was hit with a penalty for weaving on the first lap, and Maldonado’s car failed technical inspection, making Vettel the surprise winner.
As if to prove his inherited win in the first race was not simply down to luck, Vettel won the second race as well. A true ‘star is born’ moment.
He was already contracted to Red Bull at the time, and 12 months later made a one-off debut in F1 replacing Robert Kubica for BMW at Indianapolis. But his return to the Red Bull fold was inevitably: he joined Toro Rosso later in 2007, won a race for them last year, and will drive for Red Bull in 2009.
His consummate win in foul weather at Monza last year was, for many, final proof that Vettel is the real deal. The inevitable tag of “the next Michael Schumacher” has been attached to him by some. But videos like this make make me think there’s more to Vettel than just the hype.
Read more about Sebastian Vettel: Sebastian Vettel biography