5th April 2010
Mark Webber has a problem and it ain’t going away.
Maybe it’s the charming, almost childlike nature, or perhaps the innocent-looking ‘where’s my skateboard?’ charm; more likely it’s the ultra-competitive on-track attitude.
Whatever it is, Seb has it – and Mark has a problem dealing with it.
Has there ever been a top-notch F1 driver like Vettel before?
Think about it: chillin’ in the paddock he looks like and has the personality of a 16-year-old kid, loving life, with everything to look forward to.
Put him in a race car and he shows other facets to his personality: all the traits only the most gifted of sports stars possess.
Talk to his mechanics and they’ll tell you. Of how – when the rising star was new to Red Bull – their typically English pranks often backfired because Sebastian got the joke; a teenage liking for Monty Python and similarly clever British comedy prepared him well.
His iPod playlist couldn’t be different to the usual Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey fare so beloved of many a rival. On trips to Japan, Sebastian ferrets for rare Beetles vinyl in hard-to-find record arcades.
Annoyingly for his Australian team-mate, this all makes those mess–with–your–mind games next to useless. Indeed it’s Sebastian, without appearing to try, who’s likely to be inside Mark’s head, eating away at his confidence and clarity.
Three races in and he’s got that winning feeling. If Luscious Liz (Seb’s soubriquet for his super-sexy RB6) had just a tad more stamina he’d be 75 points up the track by now.
Who knows – things may change as the race wins tally up and titles follow. Sebastian may do that oh-so-common F1 celebrity stunt of disappearing up his own exhaust pipe.
But one suspects he won’t.
When Seb sidles into view the absence of flunkies, sycophants and hangers–on is refreshing to behold. It only serves to reinforce the sense that he has inner calm and confidence in abundance.
Come China, when F1’s modern-day Z-boy dons his matt black and silver lid, slips into Luscious Liz and gets his race face on, it’s not only the guy in the next door car who knows what to expect.
The kid in car 5 has only just begun.
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