It can be hard to gauge who is truly the fastest Formula 1 driver as all of the grid is usually in different cars, set up in different ways. What make’s the annual Race of Champions, held every year since 1988, especially interesting is it features some of the world’s best drivers, however they are placed against one another in identical equipment.
This year’s winner of the ROC was Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who put on a dominating performance before prevailing over nine-time Le Mans winner and ROC veteran Tom Kirstensen in the final. The result marked the first time Vettel has been crowned the Champion and Champions for the first time – even though the German driver has competed in the event numerous times before and won the ROC Nations cup for Germany with Michael Schumacher six times.
“Of course I’m very happy and honoured to win – but that to”ok a while! A lot of world class racing drivers have won this trophy,” Vettel said of the win. I’ve tried to win this many times and failed many times but finally I’ve succeeded.”
“What the Race Of Champions gives us is a lot of joy,” he added. “When we were kids starting to race, we did it for pure joy and this sort of event is a good reminder of that. When you close the visor, ultimately victory is still what drives you. But I’ve tried to win this so many times, today was more like a surprise. We all know this format is very difficult because no one gets much time in the cars so you need to find your rhythm quickly. Today I had the feeling I found it straightaway. It was very cold but it was a great atmosphere so thank you very much to everyone for coming to watch.”
Kristensen, who has been in the ROC final four times before but has yet to win the coveted cup, said Vettel was a “deserved winner.”
“He drove brilliantly and he showed that skill in the final,” said Kristensen. “I gave my all and it was close but he’s been really on it here. Obviously I retired last year but it was great to come back and remind myself how it was to compete – and to stay on the track all the way to the final.”
Vettel beat 2014’s Champion of Champions David Coulthard in the semi-finals to advance to the final round after the Scotsman jumped the start, and beat fellow German Nico Hülkenbergi nthe quarter finals. Kristensen, meanwhile, was able to out-drive Formula 1’s Felipe Massa in the quarters and Blancpain Endurance Series Champion Alex Buncombe in the semi-finals.
Re-live the 2015 Race of Champions weekend by watching the quick video recap just above.