- Indian Grand Prix
Vettel has raised the bar for rivals - Horner
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Sebastian Vettel is continually raising the bar for his rival drivers in Formula One after the 26-year-old took his fourth consecutive drivers' championship in India on Sunday.
Vettel cruised to this year's title with six victories in the last six races and dominated the Indian Grand Prix to win by a fraction under 30 seconds. Horner, who has overseen all of Vettel's championship victories, said his driver is raising the standard among the very best on the grid.
"I think Sebastian has grown this year; the way he's driven, it's been his best ever year," he said. "He's raised the bar continually and the exciting thing about him is that he is only 26, he's only done 117 grands prix, he's won 36 of them now and he's a four-time world champion. He doesn't win by mistake and he hasn't achieved these results by accident, he's achieved them by having an enormous amount of natural ability, an enormous amount of commitment, a fantastic work ethic - looking at his own performances and critiques himself - and he encourages and inspires the people around him."
Asked if Red Bull could have achieved a similar amount of success with another driver, Horner said: "It's all about the team. You need a great team and you need a great driver, and without Sebastian of course we wouldn't have won four consecutive world championships. He is now, by rights, one of the all-time greats - he joins a very select few. But it needs everything to work in harmony, you can have the best driver in the world and the best designer in the world but if you don't work as a team it will never work."
Red Bull's chief technical officer Adrian Newey has worked with several multiple world champions in F1, including four-time winner Alain Prost and three-time winner Ayrton Senna. He said Vettel delivers on a similar level.
"They're all human and slightly different to each other, but all those drivers had the ability to drive the car and process what they were doing at the same time," he said. "When they get out of the car they are able to keep learning, they have very good recall and they know exactly what's going on. The ability of the top drivers to recall a detail of a gear change on lap three of the race or whatever never ceases to amaze me. With all of them, they are very humble and they do not let the success go to their heads."
Towards the end of the Indian Grand Prix, Vettel was told to shut down several systems on the car, but Horner said it was only precautionary and actually down to a faulty sensor.
"We had a bit of noise on a sensor that was giving as some spurious readings, which was only adding to the tension on the pit wall," he added. "Thankfully it was only a sensor problem and we started shutting systems down to reduce the draw on the alternator. Sebastian managed that incredibly well."