10 Oct 2011

Vettel goes from 'Crash Kid' to 'Mr Consistent'

5:59 am on 10 October 2011

Germany's Sebastian Vettel has gone from 'Crash Kid' to coronation as Formula One's youngest double world champion in little more than a year.

The Red Bull driver, who became only the ninth man to celebrate back-to-back titles after finishing third in last night's Japanese Grand Prix behind winner Jenson Button of McLaren and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, looks just the same as the cheeky-grinned youngster who celebrated his first crown in Abu Dhabi last November.

And yet, as his rivals have discovered time and again this season, Germany's second world champion after Michael Schumacher has added maturity to his armoury and accelerated away from the chasing pack.

It was at the end of August last year, after a wildly optimistic move led to a jarring collision with Jenson Button at the Belgian Grand Prix, that McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh dubbed Vettel a "Crash Kid".

Such talk seems ancient history now.

This season the 24-year-old, the fifth youngest driver on the starting grid despite his achievements, has been nothing short of 'Mr Consistent'.

Vettel has scored points in his last 17 races and is the only driver on the starting grid to have finished every grand prix this season.

Not only has he done that, he has won nine races and started 12 out of 15 this year on pole position.

Only once has he failed to stand on the podium, and even then he finished fourth.