Both driv­ers are low-key peo­ple who have not lost touch with who they are and where they come from: Seb loves his F1 history, his retro bikes and his clas­sic sportscars. Lewis has a strong spir­i­tual faith and draws a clear line be­tween rac­ing cars for a liv­ing and liv­ing a life be­yond rac­ing. As much as the me­dia like to blur the two, and as much as Lewis is some­times bored with the ner de­tails of the tech­nol­ogy, he is the racer’s racer on Sun­days. He breaks down the com­pli­cated and makes it look sim­ple.

As good as Nico Ros­berg is, for ex­am­ple, Lewis can usu­ally nd an open­ing around mid-race, when the track is evolv­ing and tyre com­pounds as­sume dif­fer­ent lev­els of grip. Lewis is For­mula 1’s most nat­u­ral, most adap­tive world cham­pion – and if that is clear in the con­text of Nico Ros­berg and Mercedes then it will also be true in the con­text of Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Fer­rari. This may be the de­ci­sive fac­tor.

Both are de­voted to and spend a lot of time with their fans, al­though Seb’s per­sonal vis­age is now very much con­sumed by the huge brand that is Fer­rari. Like Niki and Michael be­fore him, Seb has the rare tal­ent of also be­ing able to mould a team around him: this is some­thing that Fer­nando was un­able to achieve at McLaren or at Fer­rari, that Kimi wasn’t able to do at Fer­rari – and which Lewis wouldn’t be in­ter­ested in do­ing in the rst place. It’s not merely the ques­tion of sway­ing peo­ple into ‘your’ side of the garage. It’s the abil­ity to know which peo­ple you need to sway and making it hap­pen.

Like Frank Si­na­tra, Lewis doesn’t need to write his own mu­sic: he’s good enough merely to be a part of a great team; he will then take that team and win. For Seb, it’s a dif­fer­ent thing. He has the abil­ity to make his job as un­clut­tered as pos­si­ble. Thus he has only Kimi to beat at Fer­rari; Lewis has Nico.

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