Friday, March 6, 2009

Surtees rates Vettel alongside Lewis

Friday 6th March 2009

Former F1 World Champion John Surtees reckons Sebastian Vettel finds himself in the same class as the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Vettel made a name for himself with Toro Rosso last season when the German claimed both pole position and the victory at the Italian GP - a feat many believed would forever be impossible for preverbly backmarker team.

But he did it, and did it in style, easily keeping the McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen at bay as he strolled to victory at a damp Monza circuit.

And it, according to Surtees, proof that Vettel in the same class as Hamilton and Alonso - two other drivers known for bringing additional pace to their teams.

"Look at Sebastian Vettel," he told Eurosport. "Look how he lifted the performance of his team (Toro Rosso) last year. I think a bit of that momentum will stay at Red Bull: it will infuse the people he's working with, give them a buzz. That could be a factor, but it is very early in his career.

"(To dominate like Schumacher) I think that a driver has to come through the karting ranks and the rest of it, and develop that total relationship with a piece of machinery which is necessary to take it to its limit. In a way you had that with Hamilton coming in.

"Here is a driver who came along and adapted immediately. The only reason he could do that was because he had such a good apprenticeship: he worked with the top people in top teams and in top cars.

"That gave him a degree of confidence and knowledge which rubbed off and allowed it (claiming the 2008 World Championship) to happen.

"Of course (twice World Champion Fernando) Alonso played into his hands (the season before). It was a shame because I rate Alonso so highly; he should have taken a higher level; it would have been interesting to see what would have happened.

"Unfortunately he got emotionally involved; maybe people were winding him up. I'll never really understand that."

Source : Planet F1

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