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Offline matespace

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Formula 1 World Championship leader and May's Castrol EDGE Performer of the Month...


Sebastian Vettel is showing no sign of relaxing his grip on the Formula 1 World Championship - or the Castrol EDGE Rankings.
Three victories during May - in the Turkish, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix - mean that he is the Castrol EDGE Performer of the Month for the third month in a row.
The Red Bull-Renault star has now been on top of the Rankings for a record 62 consecutive weeks. As well as his trio of victories in May, he scored heavily for pole positions in Turkey and Monaco, and got further bonus Rankings points in each race for leading the most laps.


With such a concentration of F1 races during May, Vettel's closest rival in the Performer of the Month table is his own team-mate Mark Webber, with rivals Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb creeps in among them in third after wins on Rally d'Italia and Rally Argentina, with Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon seventh.


After winning a BMW scholarship fund, Vettel made his race debut in Formula BMW Germany in 2003 and immediately showed his talent by winning on only his third start at Adria.
He won four more times that year on his way to the runner-up spot in the championship, and went one better the following season as he won 18 of the 20 races and dominated the series.
For 2005 he moved up to the F3 Euro Series and won the Rookie of the Year title in his first season. He also had his first taste of F1 machinery at the age of 18 as he tested for Williams - his prize for winning the FBMW crown in his homeland.
It was the following season though in which he truly arrived on the international scene, with his runner-up spot in the F3 Euro Series and two wins from three races in the World Series by Renault almost becoming an afterthought.
This was because after Jacques Villeneuve's sacking from the BMW Sauber F1 squad and Robert Kubica's promotion to a race seat as a result, Vettel was named as the team's official test driver from the Turkish Grand Prix onwards.
With F1 rules allowing test drivers to compete in Friday practice sessions at grands prix, Vettel was able to gain crucial mileage during the latter half of the year and became the youngest man to top an official F1 session in Turkey.
He made his F1 race debut at Indianapolis the following year in place of Kubica, who had been injured the previous week in an horrific shunt in Canada, and surprised the establishment by qualifying seventh and finishing eighth - becoming the youngest points scorer in World Championship history in the process.
All the while, he remained under a Red Bull management contract, its young driver co-ordinator Helmut Marko clearly spotting his potential from an early age.
Following the sacking of Scott Speed from Red Bull's B-team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Vettel was given a race seat for the final seven races of the season.
Fourth place in a wet/dry Chinese Grand Prix came his way and helped him secure a full-time F1 race seat with the team for '08.
The baby-faced assassin became the youngest winner in F1 history when he triumphed from pole at that year's Italian Grand Prix and continued his imperious rise the following season as he was moved to Red Bull Racing.
He took the team's first GP win in China last year and finished second in the World Championship behind Jenson Button. It proved to be the building block for a dramatic 2010 campaign.
Unperturbed by failing to score in either of the first two races, a high-speed collision with his team-mate Mark Webber in Turkey that threatened to fracture the Red Bull squad, and an error-strewn performance in Spa, Vettel arrived at the Abu Dhabi season finale still with a slim chance of the title.
Despite trailing Fernando Alonso and Webber as the race started, the cards fell perfectly for the German as he won for the fifth time during the year and the rest messed up, enabling him to become the youngest world champion in the history of F1.
With his strong form continuing so convincingly during the opening six races of 2011 - including the best victory of his career at Monaco, it is looking ever-more difficult for anyone to knock the Castrol EDGE Rankings leader from his perch at the top.
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