Christian Horner believes that the wave of angst that Sebastian Vettel has received from fans in recent races is purely because he is a “serial winner”, comparing his situation to that of boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
Upon taking the top step of the podium in Singapore, Vettel was greeted with a chorus of boos and jeers from the fans who had spilled out onto the track. However, this was not the first time it had happened, also occurring at the Canadian and Italian Grands Prix. Although Horner is perturbed by the distaste shown towards his star driver, he believes that this is purely because of his ability.
“It is the same as the people who watched Muhammed Ali and wanted to see him lose,” Horner explained to Bild.
“This is currently the case – people want to see who beats Sebastian. If he wins again, this is not very popular.”
However, Horner also showed Vettel a great deal of sympathy, acknowledging that such a wave of angst takes great resolve to deal with.
“He’s a great kid. He has a great sense of humor and he has a big heart at the end of the day. He has broad shoulders, but like everyone else he has feelings too.”
Vettel has been in a class of his own in 2013, winning seven races including five of the last seven grands prix. He currently enjoys a championship lead of sixty points, equivalent to more than two race wins, meaning that he is poised to claim a fourth consecutive world title this season.
Ali – widely regarded as being the greatest boxer of all time – won his first thirty-one fights and retired in 1981 with a win-loss record of 56-5. Although Vettel’s dominance may not quite match that of Ali just yet, the German driver has plenty of time to establish himself as being the greatest grand prix driver of all time.