Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel may not have been the best of friends in their five years as team mates at Red Bull, but Webber showed his respect for his team mate’s abilities in a recent interview.
Webber told the Daily Mail he expects Vettel to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of winning seven world championship titles.
“Seb’s phenomenal, a very tough act,” said Webber. “I think he will reach Michael Schumacher’s total of seven championships, no problem.”
Vettel’s success is not just down to the strength of Red Bull’s cars in recent seasons, Webber added. “Seb has won a lot of races when the car has been good, but he has also won a lot when the car hasn’t been good.
“Seb is like Alain Prost, but with a qualifying lap at his fingertips. Impressive. Also, he hardly ever makes a mistake. It’s not all the car.”
“It’s been fascinating for me to be in the boxing ring with him. I will look back at that and, realize you have understood a lot about yourself from what went on. It was a big juicy part of Formula One.”
Webber has had a tough time alongside Vettel this year, being out-qualified 15 times to 2 and has not finished ahead of Vettel in any of the 13 races where both have seen the checkered flag. That includes the contentious Malaysian Grand Prix where Vettel ignored a late-race team order to finish behind Webber.
Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).
Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.
However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.
Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.
- If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
- If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.
While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.
The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.
As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.
The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).
The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.