LIFE AFTER FERRARI? Sebastian Vettel is determined to win a championship with Ferrari. Image: AP / Geert Vanden Wijngaert
Monza, Italy - Sebastian Vettel is relieved Monza looks to be back on track with a new three-year Formula 1 race deal.
Vettel told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper: "I could never imagine F1 without Monza. It would be a nightmare.
"I can't wait to be back on track with all those fans, the passion, the banners, the children and adults who queue for an autograph or selfie. It's magic."
He might be happy with Monza but 2016 has been less than perfect for the German.
Plagued by bad luck?
Vettel denies he is plagued by bad luck: "I don't think of that. Sometimes it goes well, at other times not. In F1, everything is on edge and behind every trouble is an explanation."
Some, however, have equated 2016 with Vettel's poor season at Red Bull in 2014.
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The 29-year-old denies it: "No, in 2014 I could hardly drive early in the season with huge technical problems, coming after four consecutive world titles. When I realised I was not able to defend them, the feeling was really horrible."
Indeed, he has since switched to Ferrari, where his mentor Michael Schumacher only won his first title for the Maranello marque in the fifth year.
Asked if he is just as patient, Vettel answered: "Um, it's a very difficult question.
"If I had a chance to win only half of what he did (at Ferrari) it would be worth the wait. But F1 is not a sport of patience.
"We have worked hard to recover the gap, but it's useless to hide it - we are not competitive enough to win a race yet."
Ferrari to be his last team?
He therefore does not want to answer if Ferrari will be his last team in F1.
Vettel laughed and said: "Why, do you think of me as old? I haven't thought about it because it's too far away. My biggest challenge is to win with Ferrari, and it takes all of my heart and energy."
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Finally, Vettel denied that after no less than two first-lap clashes with his team mate Kimi Raikkonen in 2016, their relationship is currently strained.
Vettel said: "No, not at all."
"We like and respect each other and that is very good for the team. We both want to win and we know that we are not yet able to do it, so we are trying to help with the car as much as possible.
"Kimi and I are very different types: for sure I speak more, but with the engineers he gives a lot of feedback about how the car is."