Vettel, wake up!

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:55 PM ET

It is becoming increasingly clear that Sebastian Vettel needs to be sat down and told that the Formula One championship — the one that many observers had bestowed upon him before the 2010 season even began — is won on Sunday, not Saturday.

Vettel has been the fastest driver in F-1 in qualifying on Saturday seven times this season for the Red Bull team.

But a quick glance at the championship points statistics show the 23-year-old German has been able to convert those seven pole positions into victories only twice this season.

So there he was on Sunday at the Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring, perfectly positioned behind his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber — who had yet to pit for tires — waiting for the safety car to leave the track when he fell so far back he was hit with a drive-through penalty that completely erased any advantage he had over Webber, who was able to stretch his lead to more than 20 seconds at a result.

Vettel admitted that he was “sleeping” on the re-start.

“I didn’t see the lights (go out) on the safety car,” he tried to explain. “Usually, when the safety car comes in, the leader tries to drop back and dictate the pace, but Mark was very close.

“I was just warming up my car. I was sure we had another lap.”

That kind of lack of focus doesn’t a champion make.

What it did was vault Webber over his younger, more talented teammate, into the lead for the championship. It may have also planted a seed of doubt among Red Bull bosses about their pick as the team driver of the future.

Waltzing matildas

By this time next week a record could be established in motorsports that may never be equalled.

With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series headed to Watkins Glen International for the Heluva Good Sour Cream Dips at the Glen, Australia’s Marcos Ambrose has to be considered a favourite to nail his first victory in the world’s top stock car racing loop.

And over in the IZOD IndyCar Series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Honda 200, Will Power, also of Australia, is the pick of most to win his fifth race of the season for Roger Penske.

Combine those two with Mark Webber’s win at the Hungarian Grand Prix and you will have Aussies at the top the podium in all three of the big three auto racing series at the same time.

Quite a feat for the folks from Down Under.

FINISH LINES

Could someone please explain why Formula One needs to have half the population of Liechtenstein on pit lane when the race cars come in to to change their tires? Four tires, four guys.

Sunday’s chaos at Hungary when Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil collided on pit lane and Nico Rosberg lost a rear tire, could have resulted in some serious injuries only because of the hundreds of team workers standing around preening for the cameras. ... Good on Elliott Sadler for winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono on Saturday, but it must be kept in perspective: A Sprint Cup driver winning a truck race is like Mike Weir winning on the Nationwide tour. Sadler’s big hit in the Sprint Cup race Sunday was one of the hardest seen since NASCAR beefed up safety standards on the 3,450-pound cars.

NUTS AND BOLTS

NASCAR SPRINT CUP

It was heartbreak again for Jeff Gordon but elation in the Roush Fenway Racing garage when Greg Biffle came from nowhere to nail his first NASCAR Sprint Cup series victory in 65 races at the Sunoco Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday.

Gordon was in a position to win until NASCAR called a full course red flag, caused when Elliott Sadler and Kurt Busch both had horrific crashes with 35 laps to go.

Miraculously, neither Sadler nor Busch were seriously injured in the wreck.

A late rain shower stopped the race for another red flag stop before Biffle and the

No. 16 Ford team took two tires while most of the leaders had taken four.

Tony Stewart finished second, Carl Edwards third, points leader Kevin Harvick was fourth and Denny Hamlin was fifth.

Gordon finished sixth.

FORMULA 1

Australia’s Mark Webber admitted he got real lucky in winning Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix for Red Bull.

Webber was running at the front but hadn’t stopped yet for fresh tires — when all of his closest challengers had done so — as the safety car came out for a full-course yellow. That enabled Webber to build up a lead of more than 20 seconds on teammate and pole sitter Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who also had not pitted.

On the re-start Vettel was penalized for moving too far back from the safety car, pretty much ending his chance for a win.

“I was saying, ‘Please pit, please pit. Pull off,

Fernando,’ ” Webber said. “When I saw him go in I knew we had the chance to do something good.” Alonso was second and Vettel third.


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