‘Baby Schumi’ matches up to Schumacher,notches up seven wins in a rowhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/print/baby-schumi-matches-up-to-schumacher-notches-up-seven-wins-in-a-row/

‘Baby Schumi’ matches up to Schumacher,notches up seven wins in a row

Reigning champion’s dominant victory in Abu Dhabi puts him on course for a record13 wins in a season.

JEROME PUGMIRE

World champion Sebastian Vettel is not finished with Formula One’s record books just yet. His dominant win in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was his seventh in a row — matching Michael Schumacher’s feat in 2004 — and 11th of the season that leaves him 130 points clear of his nearest rival.

At 26,the Red Bull driver is the youngest four-time F1 champion and by the end of November he could have matched two more records. With two races left,he could reach Schumacher’s single-season record of 13 GP wins and Alberto Ascari’s long-standing record of nine consecutive race wins,although they spanned two seasons in 1952-53.

“I think it is hard to put these things into perspective,’’ Vettel said. “But it’s incredible to have such a strong bunch of people who believe so strongly in what they are doing.’’

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Vettel started from second on the grid,but within seconds had overtaken Red Bull teammate Mark Webber and was untouchable after that,beating Webber by 30.8 seconds over 55 laps,and finishing 33.6 clear of Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg.

“The car was flawless,it doesn’t happen that often that the car responds to everything you want,’’ Vettel said. “I am looking forward to tonight,where there will be a few drinks.’’

Although the German had already clinched his latest title at the Indian GP last weekend,he proved beyond any doubt that his thirst for victory is unquenchable. “Obviously,winning is very special,’’ Vettel said. “Seven races in a row — every single one is tough.’’

Stunned response

Vettel now has 37 career race wins and looked stunned when told he had just matched Schumacher’s run of seven wins in a row in one campaign. “I remember watching Formula One as a kid (when) Michael was dominating for Ferrari,’’ Vettel said.

Vettel can set a single-season record with eight straight at the United States Grand Prix in two weeks’ time. Then,victory at the season-ending Brazilian GP a week later will see him match Ascari.

“People see seven races they don’t see the challenge it takes every race to nail it,’’ Vettel added. “We got everything right,pit stops,reliability. The numbers aren’t that important to me but equally they make me very,very proud.’’

Moments after winning,Vettel jogged over to his waiting parents.

“I have spent most of my life racing in front of them as a kid,’’ Vettel said. “The cars are a bit bigger now but I am so pleased they are here to see me today.’’

Just like last weekend,Vettel celebrated the win with a few screeching doughnuts on the Yas Marina circuit. He was fined last time,but is unlikely to care too much.

Webber’s last win was at the British GP in July last year and the 37-year-old never looked like making it 10 career wins. The Australian has never been known for his pure speed and made a poor start,allowing Vettel and then Rosberg to pass him.

“The start wasn’t great and Nico got an unbelievable start,’’ Webber said. “I would have liked the win but I matched my best result here. There are plenty of Aussie fans here so thank you.’’

Good day for mercs

Overall it was a good day for Mercedes in the battle with Ferrari for second place in the constructors’ championship. “Our aim for the weekend was to be best of the rest,’’ Rosberg said. “I was very happy to hear that we took some more points from them.’’ Red Bull has already won the constructors’ title with 513 points. Mercedes is next with 334 points to Ferrari’s 323.

Force India driver Paul di Resta finished sixth ahead of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. Kimi Raikkonen’s day proved even more difficult with the Finn retiring on lap one with suspension damage. The 2007 world champion threatened not to race at all because Lotus has not paid his wages all year. Then he qualified fifth only to be demoted to the back of the grid after his car failed a post-qualifying inspection because of an illegal floor.

Alonso given all clear for Texas race

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso had precautionary checks in hospital after hurting his back on a heavy jolt over the kerbs on Sunday.

A team spokesman said he had been given the all-clear. “I still have all my teeth after the impact,” the Spaniard,who finished fifth in the race,told reporters after the incident which occurred when he ran wide to avoid a collision with Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso. “My back is obviously in pain a little bit because it was a big hit.”

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Alonso said the impact had triggered an alarm on the chassis. However,he played down any concerns about his fitness for the next race in Austin,Texas. (REuters)