The last time he drove around here- his home race event- he was left distraught, having spun out in the final moments of the German Grand Prix. He would leave the circuit a dejected man, despite having clinched a sensational pole a day earlier. This time, his track position even before the start was enough to plunge him further toward disconsolation. How can a driver ever break into a smile beginning P20? But, by the time the Ferrari driver crossed the finishing line, he had done enough to grind his doubters to dust. Somethings can only be done by Sebastian Vettel.
Upon his failure to set anytime lap-time during the final run on Saturday following the sudden turbo issue in his Ferrari, when Sebastian Vettel- distraught and understandably so- was asked about his impressions at that time, he harmlessly shared, “it would’ve been nicer to have started from the very front instead of the very back. But we’ll see what happens!”
Only those gifted with a knack of clairvoyance would’ve speculated that Sebastian Vettel- a man who, quite frankly lost all realistic chances of finishing inside the top ten, let alone a podium- would finish inside the top three.
And in all honesty, the daredevilry that experienced German driver Vettel displayed, driving like a man possessed to taste glory was inspiring, apart from being thrilling in every way imaginable.
If there was ever a race where not even those contesting in it were sure of the eventual outcome, then possibly the 2019 German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring was it.
In fact, to put it aptly, then it could be said that Hockenheimring+Sebastian Vettel = unexpected glory for Ferrari on a day where not everything went right for the team.
When Charles Leclerc, who began from tenth on the grid, ten places above his experienced Ferrari teammate, was fighting for a podium spot, his inability to control his skidding Ferrari that spiraled out of control ruined all his chances.
Those witnessing a mad riot of a Grand Prix were quick to equate Leclerc’s luck with his teammate Vettel’s, as seen in 2018. After all, a year back, Sebastian Vettel trundled into the barriers when the race had seemed so utterly in his control. A year later, it was time for his teammate to face a similar glum fate.
But even that heart-breaking result didn’t completely ruin Ferrari’s chances as Sebastian Vettel, driving determinedly with the ferocious control in situations that were quite averse to normal driving circumstances kept pestering for a strong result.
One thinks, had the great Niki Lauda been there in the paddock, he would’ve climbed out of the Mercedes garage to congratulate the Ferrari driver, perhaps putting his arms around the veteran of 4 world championships.
Swift moves around the main straight, clean overtakes around the hairpin bend and supreme straight-line speed that upheld the man driven to succeed, one thought, Sebastian Vettel was an F1 driver later on July 28, 2019, and a warrior first at Hockenheimring.
One of the best moments of the Grand Prix would certainly have to be Vettel’s passing of Magnussen, amid times where the track was besieged by rain, and therefore, delivering very unlikely conditions to execute clean, error-free overtakes.
Perhaps, it could be said, that what makes F1 drivers special and one of a kind is that they can never distance themselves from their instinct for domination. And maybe it was this facet that prompted Vettel, to come up with something special. A man challenged by the indignancy of his fate, spurred by the barely drivable circumstances, truly speaking, another DNF wouldn’t have been too surprising given how difficult it was for drivers out there to find grip.
Possibly that he had nothing to lose, Vettel drove around like a man in a spell, the checkered flag his only eventual pursuit. Come what maybe, if there had to be a guy who had to assume the charge, then it had to be. Of course, that the German’s copped up a lot of criticism, of late, only made his final P2 every bit special.
In the end, one has to say that the 2019 German GP result should offer Sebastian Vettel, one of the most hotly debated men on the grid, a welcome respite from the clamor his often lackluster results have produced so far. And it could be said, this second-place finish would taste a lot sweeter than his very accomplished drives at China and Monaco, as seen earlier in the year.
The 64-lap contest should give an answer to Vettel about the warrior-like ethos he still brings to F1; about the results, he’s still very much capable of achieving despite not having luck on his side.
And if there’s anything special that the German Grand Prix of 2019 should prove Ferrari, then it’s that it’s not all over yet for the Prancing Horse- is it?