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2013-10-11 08:31

FOUR-IN-A-ROW LOOMS FOR VETTEL: Sebastian Vettel (right) could achieve four consecutive titles in a row, a record previously earned by Michael Schumacher (left) and Juan Manuel Fangio. Image: AFP/AP


SUZUKA, Japan - Sebastian Vettel has rejected comparisons between his current dominance with Red Bull and the days when Ferrari and Michael Schumacher had the sport in a stranglehold.

Vettel, who can win his fourth title in a row at the 2013 Japanese GP, has won the previous four races and had three pole starts in a row. In Singapore in September 2013, Vettel was two seconds per lap quicker than his rivals.

Such a dominant display prompted Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton to suggest after 2013 Korean GP that Vettel's success was sending some fans in Europe, who got up early to watch the Asian races, back to bed because they already knew who was going to win.


Hamilton later clarified his comments by hailing Vettel as "a great champion".

Vettel, who was once nicknamed "Baby Schumi", said Singapore was "a bit of an exception" and the Red Bull was nowhere near as dominant as Ferrari had been when Schumacher won five titles in a row from 2000-2004.

Vettel said: "If you take Korea, which I think is more similar to Spa, the gap was something between three and six seconds for the whole race. If you look at 10 years ago it was more like 30 to 60 seconds - a big difference.

"Don't get me wrong, it's a nice cushion to have in the car but equally you know that if you make one stupid mistake three seconds is nothing compared to 30 or 60."


Vettel could take the 2013 Championship at Suzuka, where he took his second crown in 2011, with four races to spare if he wins the race and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso fails to finish in the top eight.

Although Alonso, 77 points behind Vettel, has finished in the top eight in all but one race through 2013 he retired in Japan in 2012. Alonso beat Schumacher to Championships in 2005 and 2006 with Renault.

Alonso said: "The Drivers championship is nearly impossible so we will try to enjoy the races, try to attack all the time and fight for the Constructors' championship."

Vettel, he said, had a clear advantage in car performance over Ferrari: "Sometimes you have the car to do it, sometimes not. At the moment Red Bull and Vettel are a very good combination and too good for us."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Japanese F1 GP weekend.

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