Emotional Seb pays tribute to Schumi


It has taken Sebastian Vettel only two races to emulate Michael Schumacher and win with Ferrari, and naturally he paid an emotional tribute to his hero.

The four-time World Champion realised a lifelong dream to drive for Ferrari when he joined the Italian outfit after the 2014 season, but nobody quite expected him to stand on the top step of the podium so soon.

He started second on the grid behind Lewis Hamilton at Sepang, but the Scuderia's two-stop strategy worked like a charm and he went on to take the win ahead of the Mercedes driver.

Although he had plenty of success with Red Bull, this one was special.

"It’s my dream. When I grew up, Michael was my hero and for all of us – and I speak for all of the kids at the go-kart track at the time in Germany – we were looking up to him and when he turned up every year and to look after us a little bit, it made our lives," Vettel said.

"So, that’s why I think today… I probably don’t understand yet how special it is. Very, very emotional. To see the guys there, and to realise at the parade lap, I really tried to soak everything in, enjoy the fans here around Malaysia and, yeah, I recognised obviously for the first time, all the Ferrari flags.

"So really, really happy and just proud. Especially proud to beat these guys because they have been phenomenally strong the last year and a bit, so to be the first one to beat them really fair and square, I think is an incredible achievement, so big thanks to all the guys back in Maranello."

Having left Red Bull after such a long and successful relationship, Vettel took quite a risk in joining Ferrari, a team who failed to win during 2014, but it has paid dividends quickly.

"Obviously it’s a big change but the team has been phenomenal, welcoming me the first day," the German said. "I remember when the gate opened in Maranello it was like a dream coming true.

"I remember the last time I was there was as a young kid watching Michael over the fence driving around in the Ferrari and now I’m driving that very red car. It’s incredible.

"The day today, the race, really spot on, the whole team was there, great strategy, great pace, we beat them fair and square, so thanks to the team, thanks to all the team in Maranello, really, really great day."