Former multiple world champions Michael Schumacher and Jackie Stewart have lined up to applaud the driving genius of Sebastian Vettel after the 21-year old German driver became the youngest ever Grand Prix winner at Monza on Sunday.
Having qualified his Toro Rosso in a brilliant pole position, Vettel delivered a drive of remarkable prowess, dominating the sodden 53-lap race and holding off Heikki Kovalainen’s McLaren-Mercedes, which finished some 12 seconds behind.
"He has the potential to be world champion, but it's a long and rocky road," said seven times title holder Schumacher, from his perch on the pit wall with the Ferrari squad. "I was crossing my fingers that the car would keep going and he would bring it home.”
Schumi, an acknowledged wet-weather master himself, was in no doubt that we’ve seen the arrival of another major talent:
"In the end, what he did was absolutely first class. To make no mistakes in these conditions and dominate the race from the start, and in a car which is not the fastest, shows he is an extremely strong driver in heavy rain."
Stewart, who clinched two of his world championships at Monza, and won his first grand prix at the circuit driving a BRM in 1965, echoed Schumacher's sentiments.
"It was a tremendous performance," said the Scot. "This gregarious, determined and very talented young man totally dominated proceedings as well a showing a very attractive side to his character. It was a golden weekend, both for Vettel and for F1 in general. He delivered the result with style, flair and caution. It was great for him, great for the sport."
Speaking personally, I couldn’t agree more.