In photos: Vettel's decade in Formula 1
17 June 2017 – Today (Saturday) marks exactly 10 years since Sebastian Vettel made his Formula 1 debut at the United States Grand Prix. GPUpdate.net reflects on the four-time World Champion's decade in the top echelon.
2007 – BMW Sauber/Toro Rosso (14th, 6 points)
Test driver Vettel was drafted in by BMW Sauber for the 2007 US Grand Prix, with Robert Kubica sidelined after his high-speed Canada crash the previous week. Vettel scored a point on his debut and the Red Bull-affiliated youngster was soon parachuted into a Toro Rosso seat, and famously ran into Mark Webber at a wet Japanese GP, as both battled for a podium. Vettel made amends with fourth in China, giving Toro Rosso its best Formula 1 result at that time.
2008 – Toro Rosso (8th, 35 points, 1 pole, 1 win)
Vettel's 2008 campaign began with four straight retirements but he kicked on with the introduction of the STR3, and the youngster became a regular points challenger. However, it was at a rain-affected Italian GP where he starred, stunning the sport by backing up a shock pole with a supreme drive in wet conditions, claiming his maiden win, and the first for Toro Rosso. Vettel followed up his victory with a trio of top six results, finishing the year eighth overall.
2009 – Red Bull (2nd, 84 points, 4 poles, 4 wins)
Vettel was promoted to the senior team for 2009 and his arrival coincided with Red Bull's emergence as a force to be reckoned with, under revised technical regulations. Vettel took four wins, and another four podiums, but Jenson Button and Brawn GP stole a march on the opposition with its dominant start to the campaign, opening up an ultimately unassailable lead in the standings.
2010 – Red Bull (World Champion, 256 points, 10 poles, 5 wins)
Red Bull produced a supreme RB6 and Vettel was the star qualifier, but reliability woes (in Bahrain, Australia and Korea) combined with his own errors (in Turkey and Belgium) left him on the fringes of a four-way title fight. However, as the outsider, Vettel flew under the radar and secured back-to-back wins in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Combined with other results, it meant he claimed the world title, becoming the youngest champion, aged 23, having only led the standings when it mattered.
2011 – Red Bull (World Champion, 392 points, 15 poles, 11 wins)
Vettel raised his game in 2011 and, equipped with new Pirelli tyres, dominated the championship. Vettel had the title all-but-secured by mid-season and was mathematically assured of successive crowns in Japan, with four rounds remaining. Vettel finished off the podium only twice – after a rare off-day in Germany and puncture in Abu Dhabi – and was beaten to pole position just four times during the 19-race campaign.
2012 – Red Bull (World Champion, 281 points, 6 poles, 5 wins)
Red Bull lost its iron-grip, amid the team's regression, gains for McLaren, wildly unpredictable tyres, and the brilliance of Fernando Alonso. Vettel won only once across the opening 13 rounds, though was denied in Valencia by a mechanical issue, and was 39 points behind Alonso after Monza. However, tweaks to the RB8 enabled Vettel to flourish, and he stormed to four straight wins, maintaining his crown in a thrilling title decider at a wet/dry Interlagos, three points clear of Ferrari rival Alonso.
2013 – Red Bull (World Champion, 397 points, 9 poles, 13 wins)
Vettel and Alonso traded victories early in 2013 before the reigning champion pulled ahead in astonishing fashion after the summer break, winning all nine races as he surged to a fourth straight title. With 13 wins in a single season, Vettel equalled Michael Schumacher's record, and retired just once, when his gearbox failed while leading the British Grand Prix.
2014 – Red Bull (5th, 167 points)
New technical regulations ended Red Bull's period atop the standings, as Mercedes dominated, winning 16 of 19 Grands Prix. Red Bull captured the other three wins, but they were taken by Vettel's new team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, as the German lagged behind. Vettel finished on the podium on only four occasions as he struggled to adapt to the RB10, and encountered the bulk of reliability dramas, and opted to bring down the curtain on his long association with the brand.
2015 – Ferrari (3rd, 278 points, 1 pole, 3 wins)
Vettel moved to Ferrari upon the Italian team's renaissance – of sorts – as it emerged as second best, albeit significantly behind the dominant Mercedes outfit. Vettel grasped the opportunities which came his way, winning three Grands Prix, including a supreme display around the streets of Singapore. Vettel stood on the podium a further 10 times as he attempted to apply pressure to Mercedes where possible.
2016 – Ferrari (4th, 212 points)
Vettel surged into the lead of Australia's opening round, but it proved a false dawn in a season characterised by poor reliability, misfortune, errors, strategic blunders and dodgy development. Vettel claimed five podiums from the opening eight races, as Mercedes' dominance continued, but endured a slump thereafter, taking only two top-three finishes, while he was eclipsed over one-lap by team-mate Kimi Räikkönen.
2017 – Ferrari (1st, 141 points, 1 pole, 3 wins)
The season is only seven races old but Vettel and Ferrari have re-emerged as a potent force in 2017, amid overhauled regulations, featuring revised aero and wider tyres. Vettel has finished off the podium only once, in Canada, where he recovered from early dramas to fourth, and delivered Ferrari's first Monaco win since 2001. Ahead of next weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Vettel holds a 12-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel's F1 career statistics:
Fastest laps: 28
Titles: 4 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)