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Vettel reveals the "biggest natural talent" he ever raced against

NEWS STORY
24/11/2022

As he bid auf wiedersehen to F1, Sebastian Vettel took the opportunity to name the driver he raced against with the biggest natural talent.

It wasn't Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc or any of the other drivers on the F1 grid, it wasn't even his great hero, Michael Schumacher who he raced against when the German returned to the sport with Mercedes in 2010.

No, it was former teammate and Ferrari's most recent world champion, Kimi Raikkonen.

"I think Kimi is actually the biggest natural talent I've come across, ever," he told the official F1 site's Beyond the Grid podcast ahead of his final race.

"Just in terms of raw speed," he explained. "It shows in the car, obviously, but it shows also in any other form of car.

"If there was a discipline of switching cars every day after 10 days he would be lapping everybody else,” he said, “just because he's such a natural, it doesn't him take time to adapt to the car, to what the car requires.

"If you give him a steering wheel, he knows what to do with it," the German continued. "Sometimes you feel it's unfair, you need to get used to it first and get an idea of the track or the conditions, but for him it's just boom!"

Indeed, after quitting F1 at the end of 2009, Raikkonen he tried conteseted the WRC for two seasons as well making appearances in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series and again this year when he drove at Watkins Glen as part of the Cup Series.

The pair were teammates at Ferrari for four seasons and always appeared to get on well, Vettel having admitting to finding the Finn to be the best teammate he ever had.

"I think with him, I probably had the best relationship out of all the teammates I had, because he was just so straightforward," said Vettel. "There was never an argument. If we crashed into each other we talked about it, fixed what happened, maybe laughed about it.

"But there was never a question that anything could sort of shake up or destabilise the... I don't want to say bond, but the relationship that we had.

"He's been probably also the one when I came in, I remember, he was so respectful from the day I walked in, looking into my eyes. With other drivers I felt, 'OK I'm shaking hands, I'm saying hello, but actually the guy's not present, he's not here'. With people, I think Kimi's been exceptional."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 24/11/2022 17:10

"Quite insightful and good to read.
I think of Kimi as the driver that McLaren and Mercedes really slipped up on regarding Raikkonen's leaving that team.
The team did not provide him with the car he should have had at the time."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 23/11/2022 18:02

"Vettel starred in more entertaining content for FerrariWorld than any other Ferrari driver. He's more likeable to the average person."

Rating: Negative (-2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Ricardo_sanchez, 22/11/2022 22:04

"Vettel has become more and more likeable as he’s matured. Intelligence, eloquence and a great sense of humour. He will be missed."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by ancient70!, 22/11/2022 17:02

"I could think think of Kimi as politician, he would piss the whole spectrum of ideologies off, and not care a hoot!! "

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5. Posted by Spindoctor, 22/11/2022 14:08

"Interesting and very respectful take on Kimi. I can only observe that from the outside, Seb's words ring absolutely true.
It's a real shame to be losing Seb who has moved on from the stilted cliche of "Racing Driver" and has brought a lot of decency & insight into the Sport."

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6. Posted by Max Noble, 22/11/2022 13:21

"Wow. More kind words in one press release than some manage in an entire career. Great to see such respect, and simply adds to the iceman’s legend…"

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7. Posted by Greg, 22/11/2022 12:19

"Ahhhhhh. Kimi. A man of few words, but lots of talent"

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