ABU DHABI – Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has scoffed at the suggestion of him easing off in this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix despite the drivers and constructors titles already secured.
When it was suggested that he had little to gain from competing to win the last three races of the Formula One (F1) season, the 26-year-old German told reporters that far from slowing down, he was intent on extending his six-race winning streak to seven.
Vettel clinched his fourth straight F1 title by winning last Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix.
“It was a great feeling,” he said at a pre-race news conference. “We had a little bit of fun in the hotel bar. It was good to sober up after India and get ready for here.
“We don’t approach the weekend as if there is nothing to gain. We love what we are doing and enjoy the challenge and that is why there is not even a question about why we are here and what we have to do.
“We want to race the others as hard as possible.”
Vettel’s relentless competitive drive is an extension of the team which secured the constructors’ title for a fourth time last Sunday by extending their lead over nearest rivals Mercedes to 157 points.
“I need the team and the team needs Mark (Webber) and myself to push the car to the limit,” he said.
Despite his optimism, Vettel should be forgiven this weekend if he appears reluctant to grab pole position in Abu Dhabi.
As a keen, but shrewd, student of his sport’s history, he will know not only that he has joined an exclusive hall of fame – as one of only four men to have taken four titles, but also that the prime starting spot at the Yas Marina Circuit is something of a poisoned chalice.
In the four previous Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the pole sitter has experienced serious problems three times and failed to finish the race ‒ hardly an auspicious sign that it is essential to success in the season’s only ‘twilight’race.