Sebastian Vettel's Incredible Pace
The German-born Vettel received his first kart at the tender age of three. A gift from his dad, a hill-climb racer himself, it seemed only natural Sebastian would take to the sport. He did. He joined the mini kart klasse at age 7. At 9 years old, he joined the Red Bull junior team and during the next eight years in karting, he won a dozen races. On one occasion, the winning trophy was presented to Vettel by his racing idol, Michael Schumacher.
In 2004, he was the Formula BMW ADAC champion with podium finishes in all 20 races and 18 victories. In 2005, he finished 5th in the Formula 3 Euro Series, clinching 5 podiums and earning recognition as the best rookie. He also got his first chance to test drive in Formula 1, with BMW Williams at Jerez. Vettel didn't take the usual step of GP3 racing prior to F1. He jumped from driving an F3 car with 200bhp straight to an F1 car offering an incredible 900bhp.
In 2006, Vettel finished in the runner-up position in Formula 3 with three race wins. He competed in 3 World Series by Renault races, winning two. The young driver was tapped by BMW Sauber to be their Friday test and reserve driver, and when he took part in practice at the Turkish Grand Prix, he became the youngest driver ever in a GP event, at the age of nineteen years and fifty-three days. This became one of many records Vettel would go on to break.
The 2007 season saw Vettel's F1 debut, in Indiannapolis, when he stood in for the injured Rober Kubica. His eighth-place finish made him the youngest point scorer in F1 history. Later, he earned his first driver seat when he moved to Torro Rosso. Vettel became the youngest driver ever to lead a race, at the Japanese Grand Prix.
2008 was Vettel's first full season in Formula 1, hard to imagine given his incredible success already. During qualifying at the Italian GP, he became the youngest driver ever to earn a pole position. He went on to win, becoming the youngest-ever Formula 1 winner by almost one year. Vettel finished the season in eighth overall, with 35 points. This fantastic performance was rewarded with a seat on the Red Bull Racing team for 2009. During that season, he earned RBR's first pole position and win, at the Chinese Grand Prix. Wins at Silverstone, Suzuka, and Abu Dhabi put him second place in the drivers' championship at the end of the season.
Now to the 2010 season. After a season start marred by mechanical problems, Vettel earned his first win at Malaysia. He went on to earn ten poles and four more wins. The end of the season was thrilling indeed, with four racers in the running for the championship up until the very last race. Vettel finished it off by fighting his way from third place to first, clinching the title and becoming the youngest F1 champion ever in Formula 1 history.
With the 2011 season just around the corner, fans are looking forward to watching what Vettel accomplishes next. Youngest repeat champion?
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