Sebastian Vettel names his two toughest ever Formula 1 opponents

Henry Valantine
Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Canada June 2012.

Pole man Sebastian Vettel poses with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Canada June 2012.

Sebastian Vettel says Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have been the hardest opponents to beat in his Formula 1 career.

Both Hamilton and Alonso have been ever present in Vettel’s career, since he joined the grid in the middle of the 2007 season.

All three drivers rank among the most successful in Formula 1 history, and Vettel has been in tight title battles with both throughout their careers at different stages.

The four-time former World Champion has experienced plenty of racing with the duo and holds both in high regard.

When asked who had been his toughest challenge to race against in Formula 1, Vettel told Aston Martin’s official website: “Lewis [Hamilton], especially when I was at Ferrari.

“Lewis has always been right up there. Before that, it was probably Fernando [Alonso] when he was at Ferrari.”

Vettel has spent the last two seasons in less competitive machinery at Aston Martin than he had been accustomed to throughout his career and announced his impending retirement from the sport earlier in the year.

He earned a podium finish in Azerbaijan in 2021 for Aston Martin and had a second place in Hungary taken away due to being disqualified for a fuel infringement, but he has largely been fighting in the midfield during that time.

The team have praised him for continuing to be a model professional during his time with Aston Martin, with points finishes the main aim from race weekends rather than fighting for podium places.

Despite not being able to fight at the front as he has done for most of his career, Vettel insists he has no regrets – and has appreciated how much effort goes on behind the scenes, even when teams are not performing as well.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I don’t think it was a useless two years, even though the results and points we scored weren’t that useful or what we hoped for. I’ve loved working with the team, getting to know different people and different approaches.

“These two years have been very challenging because I wasn’t familiar with running at the back of the field. It has been a new experience, tough at times, and I realised a lot.

“You only see what’s happening around you. If you’re at the front, you only see what’s at the front. If you’re at the back, you only see what’s at the back – but you’re always looking to the front because you want to be there.

“But when you’re at the front, you don’t look at the back because it doesn’t impact you and you don’t appreciate just how much work the teams at the back are also putting in. Just because you’re not scoring big results, it doesn’t mean you’re not working as hard.”

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