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Vettel aiming for three of a kind

2011-11-30 07:49

IT ALL COUNTS: Sebastian Vettel after breaking the 'most pole starts' record. He sees his next challenge as a title hat trick.

Joris Fioriti

VIRY-CHATILLON, France - Germany's double F1 World champion Sebastian Vettel won't take anything for granted in 2012 but he will be bidding for a title hat trick.

The 24-year-old German, who became F1's youngest back-to-back champion when he won the Japanese GP, said he was still conscious of where his career began.


"We don't know what awaits us in 2012," Vettel said during a visit to his team Red Bull's engine supplier Renault factory to thank the team. "There are no guarantees. Maybe we will just be challenging for points and sometimes getting on to the podium.

"I never take anything for granted... the podiums, the victories. It wasn't so long ago that I was driving a Toro Rosso. I was starting races 18th on the grid. That didn't raise a flicker of interest from anyone and if I finished 16th after a superb race, that didn't interest anybody either.

"That's how it works. You have constantly to put things in perspective, not forget where you came from."

Vettel, who won 11 of 2011's 19 GP's, rounding it off with second behind team mate Mark Webber in the season finale Brazil GP, said the 2012 title was very much in his sights. "The title is the target but I am racing against the best drivers in the world. If I get beaten, of course it doesn't please me. But there are reasons to explain why it happened.

"What you have to do afterwards is ensure that, next time, you reverse the scenario."


Vettel, who also broke Nigel Mansell's record total of pole starts in a season and laps led during a championship, was quick to share the plaudits for his success. "I don't consider myself more important than anyone else at the stable," he said. "Like Adrian (Newey, Red Bull's technical director) said, I fill the space between the engine and the front wheels.

"I'm just one cog in the machine. If someone doesn't do his work properly, for instance if the engine doesn't function, it costs you points. It's the same if I make an error. In F1 it is imperative that everything comes together."

Despite his successes, Vettel said being mentioned in the same breath as some of the legends of the sport was a luxury he afforded himself only rarely. "I try not to think about it. It is a way of protecting myself," he said.

"I love F1, to drive the cars. I admire the history and the discipline. It is wonderful to be part of a sport and to be able to say: 'Look what I have done, what we have done, in comparison with an Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, or even a Jackie Stewart or a Jochen Rindt'.

"That is pretty exceptional. That said, thinking about it occasionally is all right, but too often is not good."

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