Keep on underestimating him. That's why he keeps winning. Hamilton/Alonso will have some more surprises in the future. I remember Alesi trading places with Schumacher in 1996. Alesi and Berger used to praise 1995 Benneton saying it was so much better than the others. When they picked it up for the first test in 1996 they were shocked has it was a very dificult car. They won nothing that year and Schuey won 3 GP's in the Ferrari.
Make no mistake, Vettel is the best and while others try to diminish that they are facing the wrong rival.
Is he as good as Senna? In talent yes. But Senna was better in the wet. Lets see how next few years go.
That comparison might work if Vettels team mate, a classic journeyman, and one of the oldest drivers on the grid, also didn't consistently have front running pace, which proves Vettel is not making the difference like Schumacher and Alonso, and that the car really is the benchmark. If anyone has seen Senna race and other greats, like Schumacher and Alonso, them it should be extremely clear Vettel is not in the same class.
He is too often out paced by his journey man team mate, often for long periods, which is something that does not happen with the true great drivers. When they get outpaced its a rare thing, while with Vettel its extended periods. True great drivers would never be trailing mark webber on points until Spa like Vettel did last year.
2. Vettel cannot adapt to a car, he requires a specific handling characteristic to be fast otherwise he is mediorce and comfortably beaten by the likes of Webber. This is something widley acknowledged by Vettel himself and the team, so its not even in dispute, and is the main reason he lacks consistency and the true talent of the greats, who could adapt and be fast in anything. They were not helpless and at the mercy of the cars handling. Its amazing that you consider his talent equal to Senna with this in mind.
3. He really is not that fast. Apart from 2011, Webber is generally very close to Vettel on pace especially in qualifying, which makes a mockery of the idea that he is Senna fast or even on the same planet. Vettel was out qualified 11 times by one of the oldest drivers on the grid last year, almost as many times as Senna had been out qualified his whole career, or Alonso in the last 6 years.
So many people ignoring these major flaws and just get carried away by his statistics provided by having the fastest car for the majority of his career. That's really not that impressive for an experienced F1 observer. He is simply doing what the likes of Mansell, Hill, and Jaques Villeneuve did, for an extended period of time because he had their machinery for much longer. Sadly this charade might continue for a lot longer because Vettel is clearly not the type of driver interested in a real challenge or test. He thinks greatness is about numbers only, so he will be happy to sit in the best car forever, with a journeyman number 2, winning a lot, and thinking he has earned greatness when he never will. He might eventually be exposed if he went up against a top line team mate in a not so perfect car without Marko watching his back but I highly doubt he will ever allow that to happen.
Winning races and titles in the fastest is nothing special. Vast numbers of drivers in history have accomplished this. That is one point that needs to be remembered. Ascanelli can say what he wants but none of his words can change the clear weaknesses in Vettels driving that Senna did not have.
I don't think he his in a different level, but he's a bit better than the others. Add to that he has the time on his side and has already 3 world championships. A talented guy can luck into one [Villeneuve, Button, Kimi, Rosberg, Hunt...]. When a guy wins 3, specially at his age, it's no coincidence anymore. His speed is blistering and his race pace already at the level of the best [Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton]. He needs to improve a bit in the driving among the field and stop whining when things don't go his way. But all the others have their flaws: Ultimate speed [kimi, Alonso, Button] Consistency [Hamilton, Button, Webber, Massa]. Whining [Alonso] Making silly mistakes [Hamilton], not able to adapt to little details [Kimi]
It's never about co incidence or luck, its about the fastest and best car. Villenuve , Button, Hill, Kimi won titles because they had clearly the best cars, which is the same reason Vettel is winning. The only difference is that Vettel having the best car for a much longer time than the others. Also, how can you think he's a bit better than the others when he only beat Alonso by 3 points last year with a clearly superior car? Or in 2010 again clearly superior even if you factor in slightly less reliable. It makes no sense.
Edited by azda, 26 January 2013 - 02:01.