Not Hamilton or Verstappen: Vettel reveals best natural talent in Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel has called time on his Formula 1 career aged only 35, despite ending the season with a flurry of ‘Driver of the Day’ awards.

Sebastian Vettel will go down as one of the best Formula 1 drivers of all time, with the four-time world champion performing unimaginable feats during his time with Red Bull.

The German won four consecutive drivers’ championships with Red Bull before a slightly underwhelming spell with Ferrari, where he could not quite topple the dominance of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes.

The 35-year-old also had some stunning battles with the likes of Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher, but it is neither of these that Vettel claims was his toughest opponent during his racing career.

Vettel has told reporters that Kimi Raikkonen is the biggest natural talent that he has ever shared a race track with, having even been his teammate at Ferrari.

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“I think Kimi is actually the biggest natural talent I’ve come across ever,” he claimed.

“Just in terms of raw speed. It shows in the car, obviously, but it shows also in any other form of car.

“If there was a discipline of switching cars every day after ten days he would be lapping everybody else, just because he’s such a natural, it doesn’t take him time to adapt to the car, to do what the car requires.

“If you give him a steering wheel, he knows what to do with it,” he continued. 

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“Sometimes you feel it’s unfair, you need to get used to it first and get and idea of the track or conditions, but for him it’s just boom!”

Raikkonen retired last season after seeing his career out with Alfa Romeo, closing the curtains on a stellar career which saw him win the 2007 drivers’ championship.

The Finn developed a reputation for his bluntness and disinterest in anything other than racing, often finding any way possible to get out of media responsibilities and interviews.

Vettel has suggested that this straightforward racing attitude was what made Raikkonen such a good teammate, claiming that the pair never argued during their spell together with Ferrari.

“I think with him, I probably had the best relationship out of all the teammates I had, because he was just so straightforward,” he explained.

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“There was never an argument. If we crashed into each other we talked about it, fixed what happened, maybe laughed about it.”

Vettel and Raikkonen formed a formidable partnership with the Scuderia, however unfortunately failed to overcome the dominance of Mercedes before making moves to Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo respectively.

Since retiring, Raikkonen has tried his had at NASCAR with Trackhouse Racing Team, but it seems unlikely that his old friend Sebastian Vettel will follow in his footsteps.