Around the midway-point of the 2007 Formula 1 season, Sebastian Vettel made his debut for BMW at the American GP.
BMW at that point wasn’t overly competitive, but Vettel managed to score his first point in the sport. By the end of that season, he was signed to Toro Rosso, B-team to Red Bull Racing.
At that point, neither Toro Rosso or Red Bull were troubling the frontrunners, but they were in the sport for the long run, unlike BMW who had to fend off rumours about them leaving the sport. (Those rumours were true, by the way).
Vettel made his debut for Toro Rosso and on September 14, 2008, lined up first on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix. Vettel out-qualified McLaren-Mercedes driver Heiki Kovalainen, as well as Red Bull-Renault frontman, Mark Webber. It was by no means an easy feat, but the young German got the job done.
However, things took a turn for the worst as the heavens decided to open up and drenched the Monza racetrack in torrential rain. But as they say, the circus must go on.
Whether you were familiar with Vettel or whether you liked him or hated him (as a driver), the fact that he put an uncompetitive Toro Rosso on pole position is impressive. Even when the race got underway, he quickly dispersed of Kovalainen and pulled out a gap over his rival.
What made it even more difficult for the McLaren-Mercedes driver was the spray Vettel’s car kicked up. The full-wet F1 tyre can clear as much as 200L of water! That’s 50L per tyre. In the end, Vettel got his first victory in F1 and won by more than 12 seconds over Kovalainen. Webber had a torrid race and finished in eighth place, scoring one point in the process.
Vettel signed with Red Bull-Renault in 2009 and would win four championships on the trot between 2010 and 2013. He moved to Ferrari for the 2015 season onwards, but the partnership failed to deliver any championships.
The German is currently in his final year with Ferrari, though contract negotiations are ongoing.Sebastian Vettel. Image: TeamTalk