Formula 1 Racing

Vettel’s F1 career in pictures · RaceFans

Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, Istanbul, 2006

Sebastian Vettel has announced he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season, bringing one of the most successful grand prix careers to a close.

During that time he’s driven for five different teams and won races for three of them – so far. His 53 grand prix victories is the third-highest total of any driver and he remains the youngest person ever to win the world championship.

BMW-Sauber – 2006-07

It all began 15 years ago with a one-off debut in the United States Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, Istanbul, 2006

Race starts: 1
(7 practice appearances)
Pole positions: 0
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Points: 1
Fastest laps: 0
Championships: 0

BMW gave Vettel his first opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car after he dominated their German junior championship in 2003, winning an incredible 18 races out of 20. In 2006 BMW took over the Sauber team and Vettel started making appearances at official F1 race weekends as a practice driver. Notoriously, he collected a fine for speeding in the pit lane as he left the garage at Istanbul Park as he headed out onto the track during a grand prix weekend for the first time.

The following year Vettel made his race debut as a one-off substitute for regular driver Robert Kubica, who suffered an enormous crash during the Canadian Grand Prix. Vettel quickly got to grips with the unfamiliar Indianapolis Motor Speedway road circuit and brought his car home in eighth place for the final point.

Kubica was back in the car at the next race. But Vettel was not left on the sidelines for long.

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Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, Indianapolis, 2007
Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, Indianapolis, 2007

Toro Rosso – 2007-08

Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, Monza, 2008
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, Monza, 2008

Race starts: 25
Pole positions: 1
Wins: 1
Podiums: 1
Points: 40
Fastest laps: 0
Championships: 0

Red Bull also had a hand in Vettel’s progress through the junior ranks and four races after his debut with BMW Sauber they placed him at junior team Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) in place of Scott Speed. His first drive for the team came at the Hungaroring, where 15 years later he has announced his retirement.

Vettel took little time to get on the pace of team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi. But he did not endear himself to future Red Bull team mate Mark Webber by punting him off during a Safety Car period in the rain-lashed Japanese Grand Prix while the pair were running second and third. He made amends at the next race in China with a fine fourth place.

Better followed in 2008 when the…

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