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Updated: June 27, 2011 14:16 IST

Unstoppable Vettel drives into the record books

DPA
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Sebastian Vettel
AP Sebastian Vettel

If Sebastian Vettel chose to stay in Valencia and enjoy a two—months beach holiday he would still lead the Formula One championship on a return for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Sunday’s latest triumph at the European Grand Prix in Valencia moved the title holder from the Red Bull team 77 points clear of his nearest rival Jenson Button.

That would still give him at least a two—point if he sat out the races in Britain, his home country of Germany, and Hungary before returning on August 28 in Spa.

Vettel has won six races and come second in the other two in an awesome show of dominance which has never been achieved before in the sport after eight races.

French sports daily sighed “Vettel, of course” on its front page on Monday, and Germany’s Bild said that Vettel even managed to send F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone home (or to the beach) 20 laps from the end because “he knew for a long time who would win.” Vettel reiterated that the 19—race season is far from over, although he is naturally pleased with how things are going so far.

“I don’t look at the gap. It is a long season. We have had a phenomenal start to the season and to continue that way is our target. But we have to go step—by—step and take every single race as it comes,” he said.

“If the day comes and we might struggle and not be competitive enough and the car is only maybe good enough for third then we have to finish third and not seventh. It is still a long way.

“We have to keep doing what we do and stay hungry, wanting to win races and wanting to become better and better every time.” That must sound scary for the opposition which has not managed to provide a challenger to contain the runaway leader.

Button and his team—mate Lewis Hamilton are the only men to beat Vettel this season, in Canada and Turkey, respectively, but thrown away points elsewhere. The same applies to Fernando Alonso, who came second on Sunday for Ferrari in his home country, and Vettel’s team—mate Mark Webber, third on the day.

The 2008 champion Hamilton threw in the towel after the race, saying that the Red Bulls must “fall off the track” if he was to have a title chance.

Alonso, who lifted the trophy in 2005 and 2006, said that “obviously the championship is not in our calculations at the moment.” Button has also given up hope as F1 now heads to Silverstone where Vettel won in 2009 and Webber in 2010.

“Red Bull’s worst three circuits of the year were the last three — and Sebastian won two of them ... It is a big lead and it is going to be very difficult to catch him. There is no getting away from the fact that they are seriously quick,” said Button.

Vettel, meanwhile, is heading into the record books, and the fact that he had the fastest lap on Sunday while under no pressure whatsoever underlines his hunger for perfection.

“Not since Michael Schumacher bored everyone into submission in 2004 have fans been forced to contemplate hegemony on this scale,” said the Daily Telegraph.

“Schumacher won 13 of 18 races that year in his Ferrari, giving him a 72 per cent success rate. The man they call Baby Schumi is currently ticking along at 75 per cent.”

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