Vettel’s Red Bull showdown

1024px-Sebastian_Vettel_2008_CanadaMuch has been said about the battle between Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel in 2014. The former exceeded many expectations to outscore his four time championship winning team mate during his first season at Red Bull. Although Lewis Hamilton left Abu Dhabi as the victor, 2014 proved to be the making of Australia’s Ricciardo.

It is a case of déjà vu for Vettel also outpaced his former team mate, the experienced Mark Webber, throughout their time together. Indeed, as the tables below will show, the German has a history of conquering his team mates, only once falling at the mercy of Ricciardo this year.

Vettel debuted in 2007, replacing an injured Robert Kubica in America. The teenager then finished in eighth place, joining a prestigious list of drivers to score a point in their first race. After this successful and brief stint, Vettel was offered a permanent drive for Toro Rosso at the Hungaroring. Although he did not complete the season, he outscored both his team mates to win this battle in his first year.

By 2008, Vettel was racing alongside the Frenchman Sebastian Bourdais for his first full season with Red Bull’s sister team. He scored more than seven times the points of Bourdais – even claiming his maiden victory at a rain-sodden Monza – to earn a drive at Red Bull for 2009.

Once again outscoring his team mate, Vettel finished second to Brawn’s Jenson Button in the 2009 championship thus cementing his place as a future victor himself. Mark Webber’s 69.5 points were eclipsed by Vettel’s 84 but not without retirements and reliability issues also playing their part.

The following year was Vettel’s first as a champion for in 2010, he stormed to victory at the final race in Brazil. Interestingly, the young German only led the championship once, securing this honour after the final race of the season. Points-wise Vettel also created a notable margin between himself and Webber to score 256 points to the Australian’s 242.

2010 was the birth of his dominant era and the following three years saw a consistent flurry of title defences. His second championship was won in commanding fashion with a 134 point lead over Webber at the close of 2011. It was arguably Vettel’s most convincing championship win.

2012 and 2013 saw similar dominance but Vettel’s time alongside Webber was not one without its controversies. A coming-together in Malaysia, the multi-21 fiasco and general misgivings about disparaging treatment within the team led to a media storm during the end of the Australian’s career. When Ricciardo joined the fold in 2014, many fans feared that Red Bull’s drivers would fall into frenzy at the hands of team orders but no such problems ever occurred.

2014 will mark the end of an era for Vettel for he leaves the familiar landscape of the famous Austrian drinks company for life at Ferrari.  His final year statistics will read as a season of Ricciardo superiority with the young Australian scoring 238 points to his team mate’s 167.

With Kimi Raikkonen confirmed to complete Ferrari’s line up, a new challenge awaits Vettel in Australia.

The table below outlines the point scoring difference between Vettel and his team mates. They are listed in chronological order, starting with his first season in 2007. The current points system, which was introduced at the start of the 2010 season, is responsible for the notable growth in points. As mentioned above, Vettel was outscored by his team mate in 2014 so this mark is indicated with the symbol: *.

Year Vettel’s points Team mate/s Team mate’s points
2007 6 Nick Heidfeld/ Vitantonio Luizzi 3
2008 35 Sebastien Bourdais 4
2009 84 Mark Webber 69.5
2010 256 Mark Webber 242
2011 392 Mark Webber 258
2012 281 Mark Webber 179
2013 397 Mark Webber 199
2014* 167 Daniel Ricciardo 238

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