Needless to say, Berger started out with “baby Schu” Sebastian Vettel whom many are referring to as the next big champion of Formula One. Having worked with the 23-year old during his time at Scuderia Toro Rosso, the Austrian believes only one thing separates Vettel from the best in the biz: experience.
“He is incredibly mature. It is true he is still making mistakes, but I put that in the category of lacking experience,” said Berger, who admitted though that Vettel missed out one thing when aiming for the 2010 world title: “His biggest problem is that he probably underestimated Mark Webber.”
Interestingly enough, Berger rated current Mercedes GP driver Nico Rosberg at exactly the same level as Vettel, arguing that the current teammate of Michael Schumacher only needs the proper car to begin winning some races.
“For me, Nico is on par with Vettel. He just needs the right car now to begin winning. He has shown this year that he makes very few mistakes, that his setup is usually right, and that he is mostly ahead of Michael Schumacher. If Rosberg and Vettel were sitting in identical cars, I would not know who to put my money on,” added Berger.
Another surprise for the former McLaren and Ferrari driver comes from Force India's Adrian Sutil, a driver that wasn't rated too high no less than a year ago. Needless to say, it all started in Spa 2009, when the Silverstone based team scored its first points in the Great Circus and showed everyone that they can build a fast, reliable car. Two weeks later, Sutil was scoring his first points in F1 (at Monza) and began his ascent in the championship.
“Last year I was laughing at him. I would never have believed he has this much potential. His speed is tremendous, and his mistakes have reduced dramatically. For me, with Rosberg, he is the surprise of the season.”
As far as Williams' Nico Hulkenberg is concerned, Berger admitted that the F1 rookie is still in a learning phase and that he should be given a bit more time to develop his F1 abilities in the seasons to come. One positive aspect of his learning experience should be the fact that he has veteran Rubens Barrichello as a teacher, a driver whom Berger regards as “the best man of the second league.”