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Red Bull's high-flyer, Sebastian Vettel wins in China

He's the youngest man in F1, he's never been at a big budget team, yet he still finds a way to get the job done. Formula One rising star Sebastian Vettel has, so far, had a brief but astounding career.

German Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull leads the pack after the start of the Grand Prix of China at the Shanghai International Circuit during the Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit

Vettel has delivered his best performances in the wet

Sebastian Vettel mastered the slippery conditions in Shanghai to win the Chinese Grand Prix from pole position. Despite heavy rain, two safety car periods and a slew of accidents on track, Vettel managed to make the win look easy.

The result, his second career win, only ever looked in doubt when rookie Sebastien Buemi in Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso bumped into the back of Vettel's car.

But the shunt didn't appear to damage Vettel's racing ability as he let loose with a string of fastest laps during the race and enjoyed a comfortable margin of victory.

Vettel has moved up to third position in the driver's championship, behind Brawn GP drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. His new team for 2009, Red Bull Racing, had never won a race before, and with Australian teammate Mark Webber crossing the line in second on Sunday, it has been a dream weekend for Red Bull.

"Thank you for working so hard on the car," Vettel said on team radio after crossing the line "It was a dream to drive today. Together we made it. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much."

Record breaker

A young Sebastian Vettel speeds through a turn to clock the second fastest time during the third timed practice session for the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, on Saturday, June 16, 2007. He was replacing the injured regular driver Robert Kubica.

Vettel caused quite a stir in his first F1 race as a stand-in for BMW Sauber

Wherever Sebastian Vettel goes, success and records follow. In 2006 he made history just by getting into a BMW F1 car. At the Turkish Grand Prix, Vettel took to the track aged 19 years and 53 days as test driver, becoming the youngest man ever to drive at an F1 race meeting.

Nine seconds later, he set another record, becoming the fastest driver ever to be fined for breaking the rules. On his first ever run out of the pit lane, Vettel broke the speed limit and promptly received a $1,000 fine.

Vettel's big break came in 2007 when he replaced injured BMW driver Robert Kubica and finished eighth in the US Grand Prix in Indianapolis.

This strong showing got the attention of Red Bull Racing, who snapped him up to drive for their sister team Toro Rosso late in the 2007 season. Vettel set no more records that year in a Toro Rosso which often struggled to keep up with the bigger teams. But minnows Toro Rosso just needed to show a little patience, their faith in Vettel's talent would pay off in spades in 2008.

New kid in town

Toro Rosso German driver Sebastian Vettel, right, celebrates on the podium with Toro Rosso team manager Gerhard Berger after winning the Formula One Grand Prix in Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept.14, 2008.

Monza 2008: a star is born.

It was at the Italian Grand Prix 2008 in Monza that Sebastian Vettel established himself as more than just another young racing talent.

For the first time in three decades the Italian summer weather failed to deliver on Grand Prix weekend, it rained heavily. The wet weather conditions slowed down some of the front runners, putting more emphasis on driver skill than on car speed. Suddenly Toro Rosso, with Vettel in the cockpit and a sure-footed car in the rain, looked like a contender.

The German grabbed pole position then comfortably drove to victory and became the youngest Grand Prix winner of all time. Vettel's success was the first ever win for Toro Rosso, which has been in F1 under a variety of names since 1985 and has usually finished near the back of the field.

The Life of Sebastian

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany stands on his car and celebrates to his team after winning the during the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix

Vettel gives new team Red Bull their first ever win after just three races

Now 21 years old, Vettel said comedy is amongst his biggest passions off the track, adding that British surrealist troupe Monty Python is his favorite, betraying his fluent command of English and his quick wit.

Clean-cut, maturing, but still baby-faced, he's a popular figure in the paddock. However, that could change in 2009 if he continues to fight at the front.

Realizing he may not continue to enjoy his opponents' companionship, Vettel once joked, "If you want a friend in the pit lane, then bring your dog here with you!"

Like the majority of F1 drivers, Vettel has been racing since he was a young lad, and he's won virtually every junior series he ever entered. Now, the question is how his career will progress.

German Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull posses in front of a Melbourne sign at Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Australia, 24 March 2009.

Daring to dream? Vettel is faster than most people expected this year.

Traditionally, his current employer Red Bull would not be considered as an F1 front runner. That's led many observers to tip Vettel for a short stay with Red Bull, followed by a move to a big money outfit like Ferrari or McLaren Mercedes.

But in a 2009 season turned upside down by new technical regulations, Vettel's Red Bull car suddenly looks like one of the quickest in the field, and the young driver may have to get used to bigger, richer teams breathing down his neck.

Most people have tipped this young German as a future World Champion for some time now, but very few would have suggested that 2009 could be his year. However, it wouldn't be the first time that the young speedster from the western German town of Heppenheim made racing history faster than anyone had expected.

Author: Mark Hallam
Editor: Sean Sinico

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