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Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2013
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

The scene: the press conference room in the Abu Dhabi Media Centre, November 2013.

Sebastian Vettel has just won for the seventh time in a row. A journalist asks how it feels to be in the company of Michael Schumacher, who did the same for Ferrari in 2004. The 26-year-old German, for once, is lost for words.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2013
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

The light at the end of the tunnel must have seemed to be growing smaller and smaller for Fernando. Not the one in Monaco, where he was a valiant second – the one that signals the end of his frustrations with Ferrari’s inability to provide him with a Championship-winning car.

It was able to win races: Alonso did just that in China and Spain, two of the first five races of the season. But as Hurricane Vettel gathered force, so Ferrari’s challenge dwindled and Alonso was never back on the top step of the podium again.

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2013
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

It was a long time coming, but all the sweeter for the wait. Valtteri Bottas scored his maiden World Championship points for Williams when he finished eighth in Austin, a result that saw him finish the season one place above experienced teammate Pastor Maldonado in 17th overall.

It was as much the manner as the fact of his success that told Williams what they needed to know: the young Finn fought with names like Alonso and Rosberg to make his mark at last in a debut season that made many people sit up and take notice.

Jenson Button

Jenson Button
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2013
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

In the final race of the 2013 season in Brazil Jenson Button started his 247th Grand Prix. That remarkable tally carried him past former McLaren man David Coulthard as Britain’s most experienced F1 driver.

It also yielded Jenson’s best result of the entire season. Sadly for the 2009 World Champion, it was a fourth place, which tells you all you need to know about the dismal season the McLaren team had endured.

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2013
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

This is one of the more pleasing stories of the 2013 season. Vilified by many for the crash-and-burn attitude he seemed to have brought with him from GP2 when he returned to F1 in 2012, Romain Grosjean ranks as one of THE drivers of 2013.

Going back to first principles – and first laps – Grosjean re-examined himself, his driving and his ambition. As a result, he completed the season in seventh place overall and can count himself unlucky not to have been even higher in the final reckoning.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2013
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

It can’t have been an easy transition for Lewis, leaving his home of many years at McLaren to go and drive for a very different, German-based and very German-oriented team where his new teammate was already the favourite son.

Indeed, there were signs early in the season that the 2008 World Champion was casting around for support – why else would you start bringing a British bulldog along with you to the F1 paddocks of the world?

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2013
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

“Money can’t buy everything it’s true,” the Beatles used to warble, but it can buy a drive in a leading Grand Prix team.

“It’s no secret that I have wanted a change of scene to help push on with my Formula 1 career,” said Pastor Maldonado when his departure was announced,“and Lotus F1 Team offered the very best opportunity for me to be competitive next season.”

The Venezuelan comes with backing from his home country worth millions of dollars, and he comes to Lotus after an increasingly bitter breakdown of his short relationship with Williams, whom he joined in 2011.

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2013
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

Something had to give, and in the end Ferrari’s patience proved finite as they said goodbye to a man who has been a loyal servant of the Scuderia since 2006, winning 11 races in the scarlet cars and so nearly taking the 2008 title.

Felipe’s failure to provide back-up to Fernando Alonso in recent seasons – half the contribution made by a Webber at Red Bull or the two Mercedes men – finally meant Ferrari had to look elsewhere.

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2013
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

Whether it was deliberate or not, the normally taciturn Raikkonen’s revelation in Singapore last season that he had gone unpaid through his second season with Lotus triggered one of the most intense debates in the F1 paddock all year.

Winner of the opening round in Melbourne, Raikkonen then went winless for the remainder of his tenure with Lotus, which ended when he withdrew from the final two rounds in Austin and Interlagos, ostensibly to have much-needed corrective surgery on his back.

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo
Born Origin
Team F1 Debut
Career statistics to end 2013
Race(s) Win(s)
Pole Position(s) Fastest Lap(s)

Dan the Man racked up a significant milestone in the last race of 2013: Brazil was his 50th Grand Prix start.

But there is a real sense in which Daniel Ricciardo’s career as a Grand Prix driver begins now, when two things happen: he gets his hands on the next car built by the World Champion team of the last four years, and he comes up against a bloke called Vettel on the other side of the garage.

“Next year I will be expected to deliver,” Ricciardo acknowledged when the news of his promotion broke.

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