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Hill Doubts Vettel's Potential
German "unlikely" to better Schumacher's record
Posted Oct 12, 2011 by Chris White
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1996 Formula One world champion Damon Hill has given his view on the youngest ever back-to-back champion in the sport, saying that Sebastian Vettel is “unlikely” to break his compatriot Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles.
He also added, in an interview with British broadcasters, the BBC, that the 2010 and 2011 champion’s true potential is “still unclear.”
Vettel sealed an inevitable championship at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka, when, requiring a points finish to win the title, the German came home in third place, behind race winner Jenson Button and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso – the previous youngest back-to-back champion.
Hill thinks the likes of Alonso, Button and Lewis Hamilton will “put him through a tougher test of his mettle compared to Schumacher. A bit of pressure from another team, a real contender, something Schumacher didn’t have in his prime. He’s obviously going to be driving for a few years yet and there are going to be much tougher times ahead.”
One thing that Hill paid particular attention to was Vettel’s last-lap spin in the wet race at Montreal earlier this season, in the Canadian Grand Prix, allowing Button to go through and take the chequered flag. The pressure applied by Button is what caused the spin, in Hill’s opinion, as opposed to the conditions, showing that he is “flappable.”
He didn’t take anything away from the back-to-back champion, saying that he had an obvious talent from “the moment hue put his Toro Rosso on pole in 2008, there was a sign, a Schumacher moment, where a guy turns up and goes against the form. He’s gone to another level.”
Another British former driver, David Coulthard, who is part of the commentary team in the UK, said, “There’s no question he’s got all the foundations to establish himself as one of the true greats.”