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.