Firstly, for someone with 'consistent front running pace' Webber finished way off Sebastian, 6th in the WDC and over 100 points down on his team mate.
Secondly, if you are going to judge Sebastian against Schumacher and Alonso then it should only present Sebastian in a further good light. After all, for all that Webber might occasionally keep up the pace, he was never required to cede a victory to Sebastian. Rubens Barrichello has managed to keep the pace with Schumacher a few times back in Ferrari, and some might say Massa even showed up Alonso towards the end of 2012. That is not to mean that Schumacher and Alonso are not great, just that they are human and so naturally imperfect.
Thirdly, if you really want to do things Di Resta's way, Webber beat Alonso back in F3000. To just wave off Webber's talent as 'a classic journeyman' is quite disrespectful. After all, here is someone who, back when he just entered the sport, claimed unlikely poles in 2003 and 2004 for mid-running teams. Not unlike what Nico Hulkenberg has achieved so far. Yes, Webber might not be classed as a F1 legend, but he isn't someone to be easily dismissed either.
If Webber is not a journeyman who is? Driven with multiple teams, had no success until lucking into the best car since 2009, yet has still only managed a meagre number of wins, and consistently under performed in the WDC, because of lack of driving consistency and always being involved in incidents. He fits perfectly alongside the Gerhard Bergers, Coulthards, and Patrases. The fact he is generally very fast just shows how good the redbulls are, which is totally different to Massa, and Schumachers team mates who were generally nowhere, most of the time.
Firstly, I think it is very easy to overlook that a single alternator is the reason why Sebastian even dropped behind Webber on points. Otherwise, Sebastian would quite easily lead Webber from Europe right to the end.
And you are over looking Marks consistent KERS failures, team failure to get him out in qualifying in Spain, and qualifying problems in bahrain, and Valencia.
Sebastian is indeed not as good at adapting to a changing car as Alonso and Hamilton are. To jump from that comparison to 'mediocre and comfortably beaten' is quite hilarious, though. Let us compare the results of Sebastian, Webber and Alonso over the first seven races in 2012 (when Sebastian stated he wasn't comfortable with the car).
Sebastian 2 11 5 1 6 4 4
Webber 4 4 4 4 11 1 7
Alonso 5 1 9 7 2 3 5
Alarmingly, Webber is the most consistent. Sebastian and Alonso both have one victory and one 2nd place, Alonso having one more podium (a 3rd), but Sebastian having better points positions. Sebastian also has one 11th, while Alonso's lowest result is a 9th. In conclusion, all three drivers had somewhat similar results
You cant compare Alonso's consistency to the redbulls when they were driving totally different cars, especially when the Ferrari was a total piece of rubbish at that stage of the season. Your comparison does show that Vettel was less consistent than Mark Webber, and if your less consistent than a 36 year old journeyman then how can you not be mediocre? Just imagine if his team mate had been Alonso or Hamilton during that time? good god, it would have been ugly.
Secondly, although I would agree Senna is probably the better qualifier when compared to Sebastian, Alonso should not be in the equation. Webber has been a great qualifier throughout his F1 history and had never been beaten until he came up against Sebastian, while Alonso often faltered against Trulli in 2004 and occasionally lost to Fisichella as well. Only when he is the established number 1 does he ever comprehensively beat his team mate. If you want an example of a fast driver, Hamilton should be considered instead.
Hilarious. Alonso has a better career qualifying record than Vettel, despite having much stronger team mates, yet he should not be in the equation? As a 21 year old Alonso was matching renowned qualifying master in the difficult 1 lap qualifying system, at the same age as Vettel was being often out qualified by Luizzi and Bourdais. The fastest driver Webber ever beat in qualifying was an old Coulthard, the rest were rookies, so he is far less proven than the likes of Trulli, Fisichella, Hamilton and Massa, who out paced Kimi. What has number 1 status have to do with qualifying? Are you suggesting he is getting superior equipment? You have better back up such a serious charge. Fact is Vettel has only proven to be faster most of the time than an old journeyman, which is nothing special, and still got out qualified by him, 9 times last year which is the same number of times Alonso has been out qualified since 2008. A totally different class. History shows the greats are rarely out qualified. Senna, Schumacher Alonso have that in common, Vettel does not. he facts prove it, regardless of the rhetoric.
Many people have been tricked into believing Vettel is super fast because he has the fastest car so long and gets so many poles. Remove the car advantage and nobody would look twice at him qualifying in 10th positon 1 tenth ahead of Webber. Its all the in perception.
1. 'ignoring these major flaws' There has yet to be a major flaw in Sebastian's technique that has been properly supported. Statistics is one way of supporting one's argument, informed opinion by ex-drivers or team members is another. Claiming to be an 'experienced F1 observer' is worth not much at all.
There are widely publicised quotes from his team engineers, including Marko and Vettel himself, that state, he cannot adapt as well to a car as Webber, and that he needs a specific type of handling to be fast. This is well known, and Im sure you have seen the quotes, so if you dont want to accept these facts, then its clear you are not interested in an honest debate, and merely want to defend your driver at all costs. I can dig up the quotes if you want, but do I really need to? This is all proven by Mark dominating Vettel in qualifying in the first half of the season, even getting pole at Monaco when Vettel could not even make the top 10. Pathetic. When have you ever seen Alonso or Senna perform so bad?
3. 'Vettel is clearly not the type of driver interested in a real challenge or test' And you know that, how? If Sebastian is uninterested in challenges, he could easily retire right now and be happy with his abundance of cash. Every second spent in a F1 car is a challenge, a test of his physical fitness, a dare to travel as fast as possible in a prototype car. If it was that simple to become a WDC, I wonder why so many drivers have yet to accomplish it.
We dont know for sure yet, we need to wait and see, but he seems very happy to keep having a journeyman team mate resigned year after year, that he knows he can comfortable beat, and not a proper young hard charger as a new challenge.
And Alonso, Schumacher, Prost and even the great Senna have not? If the driver winning the WDC having the best car has occurred throughout the history of F1, what makes you think it will change now?
Alonso and Schumacher won titles without the best car. Senna had the best car but he had Prost as a team mate.
Schumacher claimed his 2003 title from Kimi by only 2 points. Hamilton's title was claimed by a single point. And I'll never understand how Lauda claimed victory in 1984 by half a point. As for your perceived clear superiority of the Red Bull, isn't it interesting that Ferrari claimed 2nd in the WCC? Or how Massa was right behind Webber in the WDC, despite Massa himself admitting he underperformed at the start of the season (while Webber insists he gave his best shot)? Yes the Red Bull was the better car, but it was far from a clear superiority.
The lap times prove it was much quicker for about 15 out of 20 races. In most objective peoples minds, that would classify as clear superiority. It was a different class of car, the lap times prove it, you cant argue with lap times.
I think you are making the assumption that 'faster' = 'better'. If so, McLaren should have won the WCC by a landslide. Ferrari's reliability clawed back points that Alonso (on his own) would not have been able to make up. Therefore, we rate Ferrari quite a bit higher than you do. And just in case it was not clear, 100 points+ is the difference between Sebastian and 'one of the oldest drivers on the grid'.
Reliability was a factor with Mclaren but Alonso and Vettel had the same number of race finishes. Reliability was not a factor in the end.