Here are the five best races of Sebastian Vettel’s extraordinary Formula 1 career

Vettel celebrates his fourth championship at the 2013 Indian Grand Prix (Photo/Red Bull)

Photo: Twitter

Here are five of Sebastian Vettel’s best races after the German announced his intention to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season:

2010 Abu Dhabi:

Vettel arrived in Abu Dhabi following a win in Brazil that kept him in contention for the world title, albeit narrowly. Brazil had reduced their deficit to Fernando Alonso to 15 points, with Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber seven ahead. If the mountain was too high to climb, nobody told Vettel. After beating Lewis Hamilton on pole, he managed to hold onto his position in the first corner, and after much pressure with no results from the McLaren driver, Vettel came out of the only pit stop still in the lead. Despite the high stakes, Vettel kept a cool head to take the checkered flag by more than 10 seconds to pull off what trade magazine Autosport described as “one of the great upsets in sport”. His 10th victory of the season makes him at 23 years and 143 days the youngest world champion.

2008 Italian Grand Prix:

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Vettel’s first victory was, as the driver himself said, “a miracle”, achieved against all odds. With the slowest car, the veteran of just 22 races defied bad wet weather to silence Ferrari at Monza and secure Toro Rosso’s first and last victory. Vettel exceeded expectations by taking pole, but the smart money was on front row mate Heikki Kovalainen’s McLaren, which proved too much for the 21-year-old to handle. Despite a scare at the start, when he briefly lost control he had the measure of Kovalainen and then Lewis Hamilton in the second McLaren. Aided by tire strategy as a McLaren pit stop bet fell through, Vettel overpowered Monza to cross the line more than 10 seconds ahead of Kovalainen. “Without Sebastian in the car, this victory would not have been possible,” said Toro Rosso technical director Giorgio Ascanelli.

Indian Grand Prix 2013:

This nearly half-minute crushing victory over Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was the work of a driver at the top of his game. After an early pit stop that left the poleman towards the back of the pack, he seamlessly and intelligently picked the 16 cars ahead of him, picking his moment to overtake without haste and calculation. On lap 21, he passed Sergio Perez’s McLaren to leave only teammate Mark Webber in his Red Bull crosshairs. With the Aussie then in the pits, Vettel was back where he started, leading the field to a victory that earned him his fourth consecutive drivers crown.

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix:

Four corners before the end of the season and Vettel’s hopes of a third consecutive title appeared to have been fatally damaged following a collision with Bruno Senna’s Williams. But just as Hamilton thrives on adversity, Vettel emerged from that setback with all guns blazing, refusing to accept giving up his drivers crown. With his car repaired, he joined the tail with a lap. He had surged to sixth on lap eight, the position he was in when the flag fell to deprive Alonso of the title by three points.

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix:

In just his second race since leaving Red Bull, Vettel secured his first win for Ferrari on the scoreboard. Delivering the Italian F1 giant’s first success in the new hybrid era must have been nice after a grueling final season with Red Bull. Hamilton on pole had Vettel in his wake at the start, but when the two Mercedes clashed Vettel kept control. Unlike this season when a series of questionable pit lane strategic decisions derailed Ferrari’s title race, they outmaneuvered Mercedes with their new driver executing the plan to perfection. Unfortunately for Vettel, this encouraging start was not to be used to fulfill his dream of a world title for the Italian team.