Vettel and Schumacher win Nations Cup

Tue, 18 December 2007, 01:12

Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher won the Race of Champions Nations Cup for Team Germany in breath-taking fashion at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

However it was the more inexperienced of the German pairing, Vettel, who really won the day. The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver drove brilliantly on his debut, winning the tie-breaker final race after team-mate Schumacher lost his race after stalling.

Some of the motorsport’s best drivers gave Wembley crowd plenty to cheer about as they fought tooth and nail for over two hours in freezing cold conditions.

Every heat was nail-bitingly close with Team Germany just edging out Team England in the first semi, with Finland beating their Scandinavian counterparts Norway in the other semi.

Team Germany had the worst possible start when Schumacher stalled on the start line, before finding himself having to drive defensively with last year’s winner Heikki Kovalainen only centimetres behind.

Spectators were on their feet as the two Formula 1 drivers fought each other, racing bumper-to-bumper on the same half of the innovative parallel track, before Kovalainen overtook the seven-time World Champion to the delight of cheering fans.

Vettel brought the tie level when he beat double rally world champion Marcus Gronholm, before returning in the final round to claim the decisive win against Kovalainen.

Schumacher was delighted with result despite his mistake: “In the first heat of the final I just stalled the car and that was it! Then I was waiting for Heikki to come back round so at least we could have some fun.

“I knew I could rely on Sebastian! Actually it turned out really good; the two young ones could fight whilst the two retired drivers could relax!

Team-mate Vettel was equally ecstatic to win Team Germany’s first ever Nations Cup.

“I didn’t expect that. I had a strong team-mate in the beginning when I needed help. After that it was quite good. We had the draw against England, which was spectacular. The crowd was alive!

“I raced against Marcus (Gronholm) in his own car; so almost like in his living room! I was already putting together all my excuses; I didn’t expect to win at all!

“I asked David Coulthard what to do in preparation for this. He said you are not allowed to come to the event not drunk… fortunately I didn’t’ follow his advice.”

Runner up McLaren driver Kovalainen enjoyed the event despite narrowly missing out on victory.

“Michael had a problem at the start so I thought let’s have some fun for the crowds. I don’t think he expected me to overtake him. It was just a bit of fun!

“I think he could have easily blocked me. After I got past him, I was just holding my handbrake and keeping full throttle to give the crowd something for their cameras.

“I had no more to give today with that car. I didn’t make a mistake until the second to last corner. Sebastian drove really well, that’s all I can say!”

Lawrence Barretto

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