Aston Martin F1 driver Sebastian Vettel has spoken of his admiration of Fernando Alonso’s podium finish at the Qatar Grand Prix in 2021, and says that he draws inspiration from it.
Alonso returned to Formula 1 for the 2021 season with Alpine following a two-year hiatus, scoring points in 15 of the 22 races.
This helped him to a 10th-placed championship finish in his first season back, out-scoring team-mate Esteban Ocon, and the pair tied 11-11 in the qualifying battle.
The Spaniard earned his 98th career podium in Qatar, and Vettel cited this when asked what his source of motivation is at this stage of his racing career.
“I think it’s other drivers,” Vettel said, as quoted by RacingNews365.com.
“I think it can be other drivers, of past and present. Fernando had a super inspiring and great, great race [in Qatar]. I was really happy for him to see him there, and it’s a great motivation to see that,” he explained.
The 34-year-old said he is aware of Alonso’s talent, and ability like his is awe-inspiring even for a four-time world champion.
“You give us the right tools and the right moment and we can do our job. I think it’s undisputed that Fernando has great qualities, so that can be a motivator,” he added.
Growing up in karting and in his early F1 career, Vettel was often labelled “baby Schumacher,” after seven-time world champion and fellow German Michel Schumacher.
As a result, there are no prizes for guessing who he idolises the most.
“Obviously, when I grew up, it was Michael,” he said.
“So probably it’s fair to say, to answer the question, that Michael was my biggest inspiration when it comes to racing, but nowadays, obviously it’s different because you see things a bit different,” said the Aston Martin driver.
However he admits that he now looks more towards his contemporaries, and sees double world champion Alonso as a great example.
“I don’t have posters of Michael in my room anymore! But yeah, like I said, it can be standing out performance like Fernando’s weekend [in Qatar] or others.”
Vettel ended the 2021 season 12th in the Drivers’ Championship, while his Aston Martin team slumped to seventh in the Constructors’ Standings following a disappointing year for the newly rebranded outfit.
They have retained their driver line-up of Vettel and Lance Stroll for 2022.