I don’t blog every day, but sometimes I feel the urge to share my thoughts. Today is one of these days. Something has been keeping me “busy” in the last two days and I cannot seem to let it go. Sebastian Vettel, you really got to me.
If there is something I love, it is sports. When someone displays their skills, strength and abilities it catapults me into a whole new dimension. I can lose myself in a game of snooker, tennis or ice hockey. It really does not matter much, as long as skills are at the basis of the game.
I watched two sports events this weekend: the tennis finals in Halle (Germany) and the F1 race in Baku (Adserbadijan). Both fantastic events and both got to me, big time.
Zverev vs Federer (sportsmanship at its best)
This weekend I watched a fenomenal display of strenght by Roger Federer, who took youngster/young star Zverev apart in the Gerry Weber Halle Tennis Finals. Roger makes tennis look so incredibly easy. And it drove the 20 year old absolutely mad. It did not seem to matter what Sascha threw at him, Roger had already seen it coming.
The master himself showed the world what great tennis can look like. He reminded me of the Federer we saw in the 2008 Wimbledon final (against Nadal). Yes, I know that is the one he lost. He was focussed on every ball and he knew exactly what to do. Unlike in that match against Nadal, Federer did not have a lot of trouble to counter Zverevs attacks. But the focus and dedicated he put into his game were there. Just like a few years ago. Roger has not changed much, but he has probably just gotten better.
Zverev showed his true sportsmanship after the match. He recognised that he had been overpowered and outclassed by his Swiss opponent. He was the first to admit that there had been little he could have done better. In his acceptance speech for second place, he openly said that he hoped that Roger Federer would go on to win Wimbledon. It was admirable to see that he did not focus on himself. Instead Sascha acknowledge that his opponent is simply better and would deserve to win.
This to me showed Sascha Zverevs true nature and strength. I have not seen him play much, just yet – as he is relatively new to the game. However with those 1-2 sentences he has gained a lot of my respect. I hope he will continue to work on his game and show us what he can do in the tournaments to come.
In a few days we will get the chance to admire both a little more at Wimbledon. Of course Roger Federer will be one of the main contenders for the Wimbledon crown. If he plays as well as he did in Halle, there are very few who will be able to stop him.
Fair play reflects heavily upon someone
Which brings me to the second event I watched this weekend: the Formula 1 Adzerbadijan race in Baku. Of course I was looking forward to Max Verstappen. Every week I hope and pray for his car to simply continue to run as it should. F1 is one of those sports in which both the sportsman, team and technology need to work together.
Success is not in the hands of one person alone, but it is a true team effort. However, at the end of the day it does come down to the driver to bring home the trophy. The driver is responsible for his entire team and that is a big team. The average F1-team (crew) consists of approximately 1.500 people.
With the “whole world” watching and a team behind oneself, the drivers are under tremendous pressure to perform. It seems that four time world champion Sebastian Vettel (Germany) is struggling to keep his cool and is about to crack under pressure.
During a safety car moment in the race, Vettel deliberately drove into Hamiltons car (who was in front of him) to show his dismise over a (non) breaking event that occurred a few moments earlier. The fact that he did this was ridiculous enough and had never been seen before in F1. Yet what was more strange is that Vettel denied the incident and did not acknowledge the fact that he has done something wrong. At all…
Once the Marshalls (referees) had reviewed the situation, Vettel was given a -10 second stop and go penalty for “dangerous driving”. On the board radio, Vettel screamed: “tell me when I did dangerous driving?”. Something that we had all seen and most would say that Vettel was not penalised harshly enough.
A few words for Vettel
We look up to athletes and adore them. They do things that we can only dream of. Athletes push their bodies and technology to its absolute limits. Maybe it is hard for us to truly understand how you feel, but as a public figure we expect you to reflect the intrinsic values that we as a people stand for.
We all know it can be frustrating sometimes to be stuck behind someone else’s car. You want to go faster, you know you can go faster, but you cannot overtake. Sometimes it is not due to your personal abilities, but circumstances brought you there. In my humble opinion, you cannot determine exactly how things will play out.
You can do the best you can to create as many chances and possibilities as possible. But you do not always get what you want.
The one thing you can take control of is how you present yourself to your fellow sportsmen. Each and every sportsman on the face of this earth needs to acknowledge that his or her actions reflect heavily upon them, the sport and possibly even the perception of their national flag.
If you win a game fair and square, the world will love you. And there is not doubt in my mind that Sebastian Vettel will go on to win a number of World Championships if he wants to do so.
But I do hope that you will learn from this incident. Please do not be so ridiculously stubborn and simply admit that you were wrong so that we can move on. F1 is a beautiful spectacle to watch – but your behaviour reflects very poorly on the sport as a whole.
At the end of the day I will be rooting for Max Verstappen in the next race again. I hope that he will “get” the car that he deserves, so that he can show the rest of the grid what a tremendous talent he is.
Enjoy your day,