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Jeremy Cato, left, was impressed by Formula One champ Sebastian Vettel's humour and humility. (Glenn Dunbar/Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic)
Jeremy Cato, left, was impressed by Formula One champ Sebastian Vettel's humour and humility. (Glenn Dunbar/Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic)

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Can Vettel start Infiniti's engine? Add to ...

In three seconds we are sideways, tires howling through a corner, Vettel spinning the steering wheel and teasing the throttle and brakes. The G forces unleash the sound box in the back seat from its seatbelt anchor; it hits the back of Vettel's seat with a "thud."

Oops. The sound box controls the audio portion of the video we're shooting, so we stop. We stop right on the race track. The reigning F1 champ jumps out, pops his seat forward and tucks the sound box behind his seat. That's multi-million-dollar driving talent doing the work of a sound guy. I said Vettel was humble, right?

We're off again and Vettel is instantly having fun. A lot of it. Our G37 I don't think is ever pointed in a straight line. The guy loves throwing out the back end on every corner, tossing the car side to side. He mentions this is not something he does in his F1 car.

I ask him if it's difficult to learn a new race course and he says only if he's talking to someone like he is to me. For the most part, he quickly figures out his racing line on a track, he says. This helps explain why he's right now the Sidney Crosby of F1 - the pre-concussion Crosby, that is.

Alas, my drive with Vettel is over just as I'm getting comfortable. No damage done, though I'm sure he's scrubbed $1,000 worth of rubber off the tires.

"Thanks for the ride, Sebastian," I say while exiting, making way for his next passenger. He waves and smiles. I bet his dad's proud of this kid who just scared the pants off of me. I would be, too.

Vettel can drive and win. Now we'll see if he has what it takes to help fix Infiniti.

EPILOGUE

Just days after my drive with Sebastian Vettel at Circuit ICAR in Mirabel, the reigning Formula One champion failed in his attempt to win that Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix. He gave it a good go, however.

I wasn't there and didn't watch. But according to The Globe and Mail race report, the rain was plagued by fierce rain. Race officials, in fact, decided to show the red flag to rain-soaked drivers with barely 25 laps in the books. Red Bull's Vettel was leading comfortably.

Eventually, the race was finished, won by Jenson Button in a McLaren-Mercedes. That youngster Vettel looked to have the fastest car and he was first on the starting grid.

But the kid had better luck last weekend, winning his sixth race, the European Grand Prix.

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