Sebastian Vettel is a walking contradiction. The Ferrari driver is a man who works in a sport of cutting-edge high technology but who eschews many of the accoutrements of the age, such as social media.
Vettel is arguably the most cerebral and thoughtful of drivers, and without doubt one of the most intelligent, yet someone whose emotions have quite often flared into bursts of visible public anger.
He is the third most successful F1 driver in history in terms of wins, and only three men have won more world championships than him, and yet the last year of his career has been as notable for his high-profile mistakes as for the high calibre of his driving.
He is a self-confessed fan of F1, steeped in its history and lore, yet someone who happily admits to “not loving” much about the world in which he operates other than the driving itself.
He is one of the most famous sportsmen in the world, but completely shutters off his private life.
All of which makes him not only one of the best Formula 1 drivers of his era, but also one of the most fascinating.
On the eve of the British Grand Prix, Vettel talked to BBC Sport about his attempts to become world champion with Ferrari, how he deals with mistakes, his frustrations with the sport he loves, his future and much more.
The battle to win with Ferrari
Vettel joined Ferrari in 2015 as a four-time champion with Red Bull, determined to emulate his childhood hero Michael Schumacher and take the world title back to Maranello.
But it has been a largely bruising time. Two years of building up to a position where they could challenge, followed by two years of having a car to do it but ultimately falling short, and now, this year, a slip backwards. Has it affected his confidence that one day he and Ferrari can finally beat Mercedes and Hamilton?
“Well, good and bad, you could argue,” he says. “We had better years [in] recent years than the years before, so that’s good. But obviously it is also a massive down because it didn’t work.
“We got close in some parts but overall we didn’t get close. We didn’t lose by small amounts; we got properly beaten. And I don’t like that. Defeat hurts.
“But I think that overall I am more looking forward than looking back. So it is not that I am occupied by what happened last year. It’s not that I will go to Hockenheim [for the next race] thinking: ‘Oh, this is where I binned it last year.’ I can laugh at myself and I can laugh about that, and I make a lot of jokes about that as well.”
This article is from the BBC Sport website / bbc.co.uk – ‘In the end, we all care what people think about us’ – Vettel on Ferrari, mistakes & the future
First seen on Formula 1