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Vettel's collection fetish

At one point or another most of us have had a collection of some sort, Vettel it seems, is one of first place trophies, 32 of them. Three world championship titles and he is well on his way to notching up a fourth.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 27th, 2013 (F1plus/E. Black).- Vettel has competed in 113 Grand Prix' which means he has a winning percentage of 28.3% and he's not done yet. To give you some perspective, Senna, Prost, and Alonso all trail the young German in that category. While circumstances obviously skew the numbers as we look at the all-time list of winning percentage, this fact is more about the idea than the actual numbers.

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Vettel competed in his first full F1 race in 2007 for BMW in which he started 7th and finished 8th collecting his very first F1 point. He made the jump to Toro Rosso to finish off the season and collected 5 more points in the Chinese GP.

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He returned in 2008 with STR where he raced brilliantly in Italy to claim is maiden victory, the first of his current 32 W's. In total, Vettel amassed 35 points in his first full F1 season. a remarkable achievement considering Toro Rosso was essentially the fan favorite back marker, Minardi.

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His impressive performance did not go unnoticed. The brass at Red Bull Racing signed the German to partner Mark Webber for the 2009 season. He continued to turn heads as he bagged four more wins. Despite some a rough start to the season, he managed to finish the championship with 84 points, which was good enough for second place overall.

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The importance of his position becomes even more evident when we take into account the fact that he was able to beat Rubens Barrichello in the class leading Brawn GP car whose sister helped Jenson Button claim the championship.

In 2010, the young star would finish the season with a remarkable come from behind challenge to Alonso to claim his first F1 title by 4 points. Not only did he collect 5 more W's to add to his total, he also proved himself as a champion. There were signs at Red Bull that perhaps Vettel was now the favorite and potentially the number one driver in the team.

Sebastian started 2011 in winning fashion. With the team behind him and arguably a class-leading car thanks to the brilliance of Adrian Newey, Vettel collected 11 W's and his second championship. Tension was certainly visible between he and team mate Webber and many began discounting the German's achievements because of the absolute dominance of the Red Bull RB7. This was also the case when Schumacher dominated during his winning years at Ferrari, namely 2004. Many argued that anyone (with number one status) would have been able to win in the F2004.

It looks harder with each race for Alonso to be able to catch Vettel in the standings. (Getty/Red Bull)

Five more W's would be added to Vettel's collection in 2012 along with his third WDC title. Again he would beat Alonso to the championship, this time by three points. Alonso drove brilliantly in an inferior car collecting steady consistent points, however in the end, the superior form of Red Bull and Vettel would not be denied.

Here we are, beyond the half way mark of the 2013 season and Vettel has what seems like an insurmountable lead of 46 points. Alonso finds himself in the familiar territory, trailing Vettel in a car that can't quite match the mighty Red Bull. With five wins already, his confidence is soaring. Especially after his win in Belgium this past weekend where he seemed absolutely untouchable. Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen are all possible threats, but time is running out.

There are eight rounds of Formula One left in the 2013 season. Mathematically, it is possible to overtake Vettel in the point’s race and claim the title. Mathematically, is a very interesting way to look at it however.

In order for Vettel lose this massive lead, a true challenger must arise from the ashes. This challenger's steed would have to prove to be quicker than the rest and be able to win races. Currently, there doesn't seem to be any cars on the grid that can flat-out outrun the quickest Bull on any given circuit on any given Sunday.

The real problem for Vettel's challengers is two-fold. First, how do you keep Seb from collecting points let alone wins? Secondly, how do you keep his only challengers from taking points away from each other?

I believe the young German rather enjoys collecting victories and will continue to do so this year on his way to title number four.

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