Sebastian Vettel named as ‘one of the top six drivers in Formula 1 history’

Henry Valantine
Sebastian Vettel smiles in the paddock. Melbourne April 2022

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel smiles in the paddock. Melbourne April 2022

Ex-Formula 1 driver Hans-Joachim Stuck has included Sebastian Vettel in his personal list of the best six drivers in the history of the sport.

Vettel will retire at the end of the season after an illustrious career which has so far heralded 53 race victories, four World Championships and a host of accolades as one of the most decorated drivers in F1 history.

Stuck, who started 74 grands prix in his career, thinks Vettel has chosen the right time to leave Formula 1 but retires as one of the very best.

“You have to respect his decision, of course,” Stuck told Eurosport. “I also believe it comes at the right time for him. Vettel has won four World Championships and is an absolute top driver.


What’s next for Sebastian Vettel?

Sebastian Vettel has plenty of offers on the table but he may choose to leave sport entirely and focus on off-track issues.


“But he is no longer in a winning car. Before he is beaten below value, his decision to quit is understandable.

“Now the time has come when he finds other things more important and can concentrate on his family.

“In my list of best drivers, he is definitely among the top six in history. After all he has achieved, he is definitely in the same league as Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Jackie Stewart, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.”

Stuck was pressed about the inclusion of Verstappen in that list, with the 24-year-old already having 28 race wins to his name, as part of 70 podium finishes in what is still a long career ahead of him.

But the ex-Formula 1 driver was quick to draw comparisons to another man on his list.

“Yes,” Stuck asserted of Verstappen’s top-six status in his standings. “Max has a quality Senna also mastered exceptionally. He is the driver who brakes the latest.

“At the moment there is nobody who can hold a candle to him. With his skills, he is without question one of the best drivers.”

How will history judge the career of Sebastian Vettel?

Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, celebrates on the podium at Monza. Italy, September 2008.
Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, celebrates on the podium at Monza after his first Formula 1 win. Italy, September 2008.

A very broad question which will surely be covered in greater detail on PlanetF1 when the season ends.

In brief, however, there can be no doubting that having the third highest win tally in the history of the sport puts Vettel right up there with the very best of them.

His work off track in recent seasons has also put him at the forefront of the change he wants to see from an environmental perspective, as well as standing up for equality and LGBTQ+ rights in society – particularly in countries where such issues are highly prevalent.

Driving-wise, his relentlessness during his title-winning years was absolutely second to none, and he was not afraid of upsetting the apple cart in the process. Turkey 2010 and the infamous ‘Multi 21’ incident in Malaysia spring to mind…

But many have pointed to his helpless slide off from the lead at Hockenheim in 2018 as perhaps the turning point and when his fortunes started to decline.

Despite his exit from Ferrari and swansong in a midfield Aston Martin, that should not detract from the career of one of the greats.