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Admit It: You Like Him a *Little*

An enduring F1 mystery for me is the disproportionate hate-on people have for Sebastian Vettel.  What gives?  To my untrained eye, at least, Vettel seems to be an endearingly dorky, very intelligent, enthusiastic, and aggressive driver who is truly, almost painfully, passionate about what he does.  Maybe it really is primarily a British-vs.-German thing, as some have theorized, in which case I suppose there’s not much that can be done about it.  Since Sunday’s race, I’ve seen more than one commenter say that they want anyone but Vettel to win the title.  Really? Why?  Because he’s crashed into some people?  Show me a driver who hasn’t!  If you’re out there being aggressive and trying to overtake, it’s bound to go wrong from time to time, right?  Well, not for you, obviously — but for other, less godlike drivers.

A couple other factors to consider: (1) He’s a Beatles fan, which shows both discerning musical taste and an awareness of twentieth century pop culture that not everyone his age (sadly) can claim; and (2) he has a sense of humor, which is a quality that perhaps not everyone involved in Formula 1 (sadly) can claim.  A couple days ago, on the ESPN F1 site, Mark Sutton related a few anecdotes about Vettel’s sense of humor in his interactions with the Japanese fans this past weekend:

Vettel’s very good with the fans and has a great sense of humour.  . . . Later in the day a guy came up to him with a paddock pass around his neck and gave him this huge diamond-encrusted watch to sign. Seb sort of looked at it, looked at the guy and then put it straight on his wrist and started to walk off. He quickly came back, broke into a smile and signed the back of it and gave it back.

On Saturday, during the washout that was supposed to have been qualifying, he obtained a photographer’s camera and began walking around photographing various people in the garages.  Here is a collection of some of the photos he took, courtesy of the Viva F1 site.  I wish they had shown some of his antics during SpeedTV’s coverage that day, but they were spending most of that time rebroadcasting Friday afternoon practice.  Why, SpeedTV?  Why?

As far as I’m concerned, though, Seb’s status as one of the funnier guys in F1 became totally ironclad when he actually joked about “Crashgate” while sitting right next to Fernando Alonso at the post-quali press conference in Singapore.  God, I wish I could have seen that epic moment.  If anyone has a link to video of it, I would be so, SO grateful.

Anyway, I suppose not everyone places as high a value on a sense of humor as I do — although I think that’s just one among Vettel’s many endearing qualities.  He’s also, you know, pretty damn fast. Have you noticed?  ;-)

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