Days after Sebastian Vettel clinched his second straight F1 drivers' title a photograph of the Red Bull ace circa 1994 began to go viral on social networking websites. In the picture, a denim-clad, hunched, Michael Schumacher is seen handing over a karting championship trophy to a seven-year-old Vettel, the winner's cap covering the familiar blonde mop.
Schumacher may have said words of encouragement and given sound advice to the youngster back then. However, that could possibly be the only time the German felt the need to 'train' his compatriot.
The seven-time world champion says Vettel does not need any tips from him, he's doing just fine without them. "Sebastian does not need advice from me. He knows perfectly well what to do and how to drive - as you can see, his titles have been achieved in an impressive manner," Schumacher tells HT.
The Mercedes GP driver reveals the moment when he realised the floppy-haired boy-next-door is actually a future world champion. During the 2007 Race of Champions, an international motorsport series where drivers from Formula One, NASCAR and the World Rally Championship team up to represent their countries, the past and future of German motorsport teamed up.
Needless to say, the competition never stood a chance. The four years the duo has competed together, Germany has won the overall championship every single time.
"There is a reason why we form such a good team in the Race of Champions. We've raced together for many years now, and get along very well. We also share a similar passion for motorsport and have fun in what we do," adds the 42-year-old Schumi.
Ready to attack
It is said in F1 that a true test of any driver is how he stacks up against his partner. Talking about his progress in the second season of his comeback, Schumi is optimistic. Last season, he finished 70 points behind teammate Nico Rosberg. This year, he is just seven points behind him.
"I cannot deny that returning into the inner circle of F1 took longer than expected. Being out for three years in a sport as innovative and complex as F1 was not helpful. That is why I am very happy with the second season and with my performance," he says.
The German ace is also keen on ending Red Bull's recent domination. "Every time a team is so dominant, the others are even more motivated to end that. It was the same with us in Ferrari, and it will be the same next year. You can be sure, we will try to attack!"
He may not have anything to teach Vettel, but Schumi is confident he can still school him on the track.