Sky F1's Johnny Herbert believes Sebastian Vettel will only get better in years ahead
While Damon Hill says the German really earned his third title
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 17/01/13 10:11am
In addition to simply joining the elite list of drivers to have won three or more titles in at dramatic Brazilian GP on Sunday, Vettel, at the age of 25, became by some margin the youngest - by six years from previous record holder Ayrton Senna - to do so and also the only man to win all of his first three championships in succession.
By bringing up the hat-trick, Red Bull driver also joined Juan-Manuel Fangio and compatriot Michael Schumacher in an even more exclusive club: winners of three championships on the spin.
Incredibly, Vettel has achieved all of that inside just 101 grands prix and Sky F1's former race-winning pundit Herbert has warned the German's rivals that there is even more to come from the sport's current benchmark in the years ahead.
"He's still a young man. He's still growing in stature when he gets on the race track," Johnny said.
"I don't think we've seen the best of Seb yet and that's going to be fascinating for us to see him develop even more."
Prior to the title-deciding weekend, there had been much debate both in and outside the paddock as to which of the two 2012 championship protagonists, Vettel or Fernando Alonso, would be the more deserving champion.
But while Alonso has earned particular plaudits this season having stayed in the hunt despite a distinct car disadvantage, 1996 World Champion Damon Hill says there can be no arguments about Vettel's worthiness in the end following his recovery drives in both Abu Dhabi, and on Sunday, at Interlagos.
"Fernando really dragged the whole team along with him, he gave everything he possibly could to deliver the results but ultimately Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull turned things around and they came back and just did a better job," the Sky F1 pundit concluded.
"You can't take anything away from Vettel. He had to fight his way from the back of the grid in two races now. This was a true championship drive and he showed himself to be a worthy champion ultimately."
Nonetheless, fellow Sky pundit and co-commentator Martin Brundle pointed out that Vettel had more than his fair share of good fortune during the thrilling 71 laps in Brazil.
"I think he was incredibly lucky today that the suspension wasn't damaged and there wasn't any kind of fluid leaking," Martin suggested after Vettel's first-lap shunt. "He didn't get a penalty for cutting across the front of Senna and all sorts of things that played into his hands.
"But you make your own luck as he said."