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Formula 1 News - September, 2008
Vettel begins F1 race to greatness

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Sep.14 (GMM) If he was the toast of the paddock after securing pole, youngster Sebastian Vettel was crowned a superstar of the future as he continued his run of Monza dominance with victory in a Toro Rosso.

Now in the record books as the sport's youngest ever pacesetter, the 21-year-old's paddock celebrations were a roll-call of F1 celebrities, headlined by perhaps his greatest supporter -- seven time world champion Michael Schumacher.

In Italy as an ongoing Ferrari advisor, Schumacher still plays on the F1 drivers' football team with his fresh-faced countryman, and a few days before Monza, Vettel was honing his wet-weather skills with a slick-shod go-kart on the winner of 91 grand prix's own Kerpen circuit.

"For me he was already the surprise of the season," Schumacher, 39, enthused at the damp Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

"But what he demonstrated today, in these weather conditions, making no mistakes and dominating from the beginning, was completely clearly top-class," he added.

"And the people at Monza are also happy because a half-Ferrari still won," Schumacher joked.

Also embracing Vettel was BMW's Mario Theissen, who last year agreed to release the German from his contract as test driver.

"Since then his development has been fantastic," Theissen is quoted as saying by SID. "But he is only 21; perhaps when he is 31 he will be back with us."

Also amid the Toro Rosso celebrations were Vettel's father Norbert, and billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, who on Sunday sampled the feeling as a winning team owner for the first time.

Referring to Vettel, triple world champion Niki Lauda told the German broadcaster RTL: "The combination of his intelligence and his talent is just the right mix for him to become a really great driver."

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