Vettel not thinking about the championship which rivals have already written off

Sebastian Vettel on the cusp of a fourth world title

Sebastian Vettel on the cusp of a fourth world title

At the end of a week in which he has been accused of sending Formula 1 fans to sleep, Sebastian Vettel could possibly put the championship to bed in Japan.

If the Japanese Grand Prix pans out the same as last year’s race, the 26-year-old Red Bull driver will be enjoying sweet dreams as the youngest quadruple World Champion – and only the third four-in-a-row winner – with four races to spare.

“I’m trying not to think about it, to be honest,” the German, who will be chasing a fifth successive race win and fourth pole in a row, told reporters in South Korea last weekend.

He will need exceptional mind control for that to happen.

Vettel stands on the brink of joining three of the all-time greats – Juan Manuel Fangio, Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher – in the record books as the only drivers to have won four or more titles in the 63-year history of the sport.

Sebastian Vettel trounced his rivals in Korea

Sebastian Vettel trounced his rivals in Korea

The championship leader enjoys a 77 point lead over Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso and will wrap up the title if he wins at Suzuka and the Spaniard fails to finish in the top eight.

There is every chance of that happening, even if Alonso has finished eighth or higher in all but one of the 14 races so far this year.

“We are not thinking about the championship. If the moon and stars align and [Vettel] wins the race and Fernando is ninth or below, then theoretically he can win the championship,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told reporters after last weekend’s victory, showing that he knows exactly what is required.

“Our approach in Suzuka will be the same as in our other races this year … we will go there to get the best out of ourselves and the championship will tend to take care of itself,” Horner added.

“So long as we win it, I don’t care where we win it and I think the chances of us winning it in Suzuka are low. When does Fernando Alonso ever not finish a race?”.

Fernando Alonso spins out at the start of the 2012 Japanese GP

Fernando Alonso spins out at the start of the 2012 Japanese GP

The answer: At Suzuka last year.

Vettel won that race from pole position, leading all the way and setting the fastest lap, while Alonso retired after spinning off into the gravel at the first corner only seconds after the start.

The Spaniard, whose fighting spirit is reflected by the Samurai swordsman tattooed on his back, has already recognised that it will take a comeback or slump of America’s Cup proportions to deny Vettel a fourth crown.

He and his team both know that is not going to happen, even if Vettel’s Australian team mate Mark Webber has retired from the last two races with his car’s engine in flames.

“Of course we need to be realistic, we know that it is almost impossible to win the title,” Ferrari principal Stefano Domenicali said after what he described as a very painful weekend in South Korea, with Alonso finishing sixth.

Sebastian Vettel won the 2012 Japanese GP

Sebastian Vettel won the 2012 Japanese GP

Alonso agreed: “We cannot expect miracles between now and the end of the championship. Second place in the Constructors’ Championship is probably a more realistic target,” he said.

“But one thing’s certain, we are not giving up now and we will give it our best shot right to the very end.”

Suzuka is a favourite circuit for all drivers, ranking up with Spa as a real challenge that sorts the men from the boys as they come up against the fearsome 130R corner, taken at some 310 km/h.

It is no surprise that World Champions have won 17 of the last 18 races at the fast figure-of-eight circuit and Vettel three of the last four. He did not win in 2011, when he finished third, but the title more than made up for that.

“I think it is the best track in the world, to be honest,” said the German, who has been on pole for the past four years and has a considerable local fan base.

The boos heard elsewhere when Vettel has appeared on the podium are unlikely to be repeated in Japan, where fans fill the stands even when nothing is happening on the track and stay for hours afterwards.

“The fans are crazy – completely crazy in a positive way,” said Vettel. “[We] get massive support there …big fans of motorsport, passionate about Formula 1 and I think [that] they enjoy the whole weekend.” (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Tamburello_1994

    Unless Alonso DNF’s he’s not finishing ninth or lower so were gonna have to go through all this again in India or wherever.

    As I always say “Let’s do it first, Talk about it later.”

    Fangio, Prost, and Schumacher. Not a bad group of blokes to be associated with – especially when your only twenty-six.

  • Tinto

    Mr. Seb, Mr. Seb, that is a bit of a bull, but that white lie is ok.

    Your mind is 100% into it, it is all about records, that is everything you know and enjoy doing it.

  • Boycotthehaters

    I think he enjoys racing. Do that and the records take care of themselves. Obsess about records and your “legacy” and the museum you want to build to celebrate yourself … and you end up like Hamilton.

    I’m sure Vettels mind is focused on one thing at present: getting the car set up properly in Friday practice. After that he’ll focus on doing well in qualifying, and after that on trying to win the race. That’s how he got where he is, by concentrating completely on the task immediately before him.

  • Traguardo

    @ tamburello.

    As I always say “Let’s do it first, Talk about it later.”

    So shut up then.

  • Bob Wheeler

    I am so sick of the haters on this site! Tinto, I didn’t know you knew Vettel so well! Do you think you can get me his autograph? You must be very very close to know what he’s thinking. I bet everyone goes to you for the inside scoop! Oh and it’s Sepp, the common German abbreviation for Seppel which is an endearment for the name Sebastian although it is commonly used for Joseph. Idiot!

  • Tamburello_1994

    @ Traguardo

    If I want any advice from you I’ll scrape it off my zipper

  • Rte

    What the hell does that even mean?

  • Traguardo

    @ Tamburello,

    It is not up to you to decide if i give you advise.
    But it is not unexpected, you seem like a very self-righteous guy, a typical ‘know-it-all’ and not in the least bit you are a troll.

    also this “if i need advise, i’ll scrape it of my zipper-attitude” probably brought you a lot in life.. probably things like unemployment.

    Dude most people here don’t like you or your comments, still you are so thick that you keep on posting them, living in your own delusion of your tainted truth.

    i feel sorry for you.

  • Tamburello_1994

    “i feel sorry for you.”

    Aww. Poor baby. The fact that you have any feelings for me at all is a big indication you need to get a life.

    :)

  • Tinto

    @Bob Wheller: Seb is what Mark Webber uses often adressing to/about Sebastian, and many orhers… It is common in anglophone world, have you heard any English person pronouncing ‘Fettel’ instead of ‘Vettel’. By the way I speek german, but this is not the reason I like Vettel. The post was tonngue-in-cheek.

    Other than that, I wish you well, you need it…