F1 Grand Prix of India - Race

Vettel approaches complete F1 dominance with fourth title


Sebastian Vettel has been undefeated since the summer break ended. Not since the Hungarian Grand Prix in July has anyone else had stood on the top step of the podium.

The scale of Vettel’s success invites comparisons with the peaks of dominance achieved by drivers like Michael Schumacher, Jim Clark and Alberto Ascari.

With ten wins under his belt this year and three remaining, Vettel could tie Schumacher’s record of winning 13 races in a season (achieved in 2004, when there was one fewer event on the calendar).

His six consecutive wins means he could equal Schumacher and Ascari’s record winning seven consecutive races. Ascari actually went further – he won nine consecutive starts in 1952 and 1953, missing one of the races – but Vettel is on course to match that 60-year-old record.

This kind of sustained success is not unprecedented but it is extremely rare. For Vettel to do it at a time when the technical rules are tighter than ever makes it especially impressive.

Ascari typically won races by a minute or more as Ferrari’s 500 was the class of the field at a time when the championship was briefly run to F2 rules.

In 2004 Schumacher enjoyed virtually bespoke tires from Bridgestone and had unlimited testing to hone them to his exact specifications. Vettel, like everyone else in the field, gets what he’s given.

The mid-season change in tire construction (on safety grounds following the explosions seen at Silverstone) are probably part of the explanation for Red Bull’s step forward. Yes, Vettel was already ahead in the championship before then and Hamilton won the first race on the new tires, but the RB9 seems to have extracted more from them than any other car.

But Vettel knows these times won’t last forever. The coming overhaul of the technical regulations represents the biggest challenge to his four-year F1 supremacy so far, as he acknowledged after claiming the title yesterday:

“It’s a big, big, big project waiting for us next year. I think teams like Mercedes, Ferrari spend a lot of time thinking of new ideas. It’s a new car, it’s a new engine so it will be an incredibly big challenge.”

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Ryan Briscoe

Ryan Briscoe
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MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda

  • 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish

For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.

Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.

The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.

Race Recap: Hamilton closes on third title at Russia (VIDEO)

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Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.

View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.