Every Monday

Issue # 4

SEBASTIAN VETTEL: IN THE FUMES OF AYRTON SENNA    

PIC. by Moro at Wikipedia

Sebastian Vettel's career defining battles on the track have been with Alonso, Webber, Button, Ricciardo ... Lewis Hamilton. But here at Sports Annual Seb's main rival has been with the man ahead of him on the Sports Annual table today ... Ayrton Senna. Let's take a look ... 

Among the 96 drivers ranked, across 70 years of F1 results, the fight between Ayrton Senna and Sebastian Vettel has been one of the tightest and longest of all that have taken place.

Sports Annual calculates to nine decimal points. The gaps between Senna and Vettel have routinely been down to 1000ths.

Not today. Right now the gap to Senna is about eight tenths and growing. To overtake Senna Vettel needs a lot of wins by the end of 2021.

 

Let's go back and see what happened.

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PIC. Instituo Ayrton Senna

Youngest pole youngest winner

MONZA September 14, 2008

Sebastian Vettel's first win qualified him in position 47 on the Sports Annual table ... wedged between Rene Arnoux and Keke Rosberg. By the end of 2009 his win rate saw him in the top 20 (19th just behind Nelson Piquet) before the first of the Newey masterpieces appeared in 2010. 

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PIC. Mark McArdle

2010 - 2013 ... the bull run

2010. 12th position

 

Two drivers battled for the 2010 World Championship ... Seb and Alonso. So it was at Sports Annual. By seasons end Vettel had climbed to position 12 ahead of Alonso who (at that time) was in 13th.

 

2011 - 2012. 6th position. The battle with Senna begins. 

Late in 2011, at India on October 30, Vettel overtook Senna for the first time into (then) 6th place. He has maintained a top ten position ever since. Seb ended 2012 about a tenth ahead of Senna before Newey's RB 9 appeared for 2013. 

2013. PODIUM. HIGHEST SCORE.

Already leading the 2013 championship by Spa ... Vettel went on to win the next nine straight races. By seasons end he had overtaken Jim Clark to hold third position on the grid behind Alberto Ascari and Fangio. His peak score at seasons end was 3.076 rpw / 4.707 ppr.  Few drivers in seventy years of F1 racing have scaled those heights. It remains Seb's best score.

Sebastian's s top score was still well short of Michael Schumacher's. Schui got closer to Fangio than any driver in the modern era at Ferrari before returning to Mercedes and destroying his win rate. 

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PIX by Moro; Wikipedia

2014. Journey down the mountain. 

2014 was a poor year. Eclipsed by Daniel Ricciardo he took no wins and scored poor points in 2014. The 2013 results cushioned the fall but he lost his podium to Clark. Senna was closing fast as the partnership with Red Bull finally collapsed.   

2015 - 2019. The Scuderia and the five year battle with Ayrton Senna. 

The story of Sebastian Vettel's often stormy time at the Scuderia Ferrari is ... on the Sports Annual table ... the story of a 50 plus race battle where 1000ths routinely separated him from Senna.

 

Seb took no wins from 2016 and Senna passed him at the US GP in Austin, Texas, of that year. A wheel to wheel fight lasted until about Monza, 2019 ... by which time Senna's lead was definitive and ever since it's got wider and wider. Moss will pass Vettel early 2021. 

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PIC. Instituo Ayrton Senna

2019 - 2020. The Laws of Diminishing Returns

Seb finished 2018 about one hundredth ahead of Senna. But at the first race of 2019, the Australian Grand Prix, Senna retook the road from Sebastian and has lead him ever since. Senna's lead over Vettel had stretched to nearly four tenths by seasons end. 

In 2020 the trend accelerated. By the last Grand Prix at Germany Senna's lead over Vettel was nine tenths. At Sports Annual, like on the road, it's a big gap.

The gap back to the driver chasing him, Stirling Moss, is small. Moss should take P9 off Vettel early 2021. 

By Stephen Atkinson