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Sebastian Vettel

The lowdown on Sebastian Vettel

2017: 2nd place. Born: 3.7.1987

Can Sebastian Vettel avoid more “red mist” moments and beat rival Lewis Hamilton in the race to win a fifth world drivers’ championship?

The last of the German’s quartet of crowns came back in 2013 with Red Bull, but last year the revived pace of Ferrari helped him back into title contention.

He led the standings by 25 points after Monaco and 14 at the summer break, but his meltdown in Baku – where he inexplicably collided twice with Hamilton – was perhaps a sign of things to come.

While his Mercedes rival came back with a bang, Vettel’s challenge evaporated during the Asian swing, after which he trailed Hamilton by 59 points with four races to go. The title was conceded with two grands prix remaining.

Second was his best overall finish since joining the Italian marque in 2015 but, for someone who has smashed multiple F1 records and dominated an era, there’s only one place he wants on the podium. 

He scored points on his F1 debut in 2007, aged just 20, and little over a year later he was a grand prix winner, claiming a popular first victory for Toro Rosso at a rain-hit Monza.

The cheeky German, a practical joker, notched Red Bull Racing’s first win in 2009 as he finished second overall, and made history in 2010 by becoming the then-youngest champion in F1 history.

He added a consecutive second, third and fourth titles before rule changes in 2014 eroded Red Bull’s superiority.

After finishing fifth, and being outshined by new young team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, Vettel followed in the footsteps of his hero Michael Schumacher and joined the Prancing Horse.

He notched three wins in his first season, but had to wait until the first race 2017 for his next victory. This year the Australian opener will be Vettel’s 200th GP, as he seeks his 100th career podium.