Having kept himself in title contention courtesy of his flawless lights-to-flag victory in the Japanese Grand Prix at the weekend, Sebastian Vettel has revealed that his only strategy now is to go all-out to repeat that form in the remaining two grands prix of the 2009 F1 campaign – as he admits that he has 'never stopped dreaming about the title'.
With long-time world championship leader Jenson Button only narrowly managing to scrape a solitary point for eighth place at Suzuka, Vettel's third triumph of the season – following on from Shanghai and Silverstone – has kept the chase for the crown alive heading to Interlagos for the Brazilian Grand Prix in just under a fortnight's time, with the Brawn GP star holding a reduced 14-point margin over team-mate Rubens Barrichello and 16 in-hand over Vettel, with 20 remaining to play for.
Moreover, as if it wasn't bad enough that he has ostensibly suffered from the jitters since the mid-season point – having not ascended the highest step of the rostrum since the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul back in early June – Button is now being reminded that countryman Lewis Hamilton squandered an even greater advantage over the last two races of 2007 to find himself pipped to the laurels by Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen by just a single point in the final reckoning. The in-form Vettel is hoping he can make history repeat itself two years on.
“To be honest, this last weekend it was pretty straightforward – win here or that's it,” the 22-year-old German is quoted as having said by AFP
. “We took all the risks and maximum attack, and in the end it all paid off. Obviously now looking at the championship it looks better, but still it is a big gap.
“We have seen, though, especially two years ago, [that] anything can happen and anything is possible still. I think we have to do exactly the same in the next two races, and then we will see what the others have done.
“I never stopped dreaming about the title. I said before that it is a great honour and a great pleasure to drive these cars many times in the season on a Sunday, but the most important [thing] is the challenge. We want to find out who is the best and the best over a whole season. The ultimate target is to win the championship. That is why I am here and why we are doing this.”
Vettel's Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner echoed his driver's sentiments, being full of praise for his young protégé's Japanese performance – and confident that there is still some mileage left in this title battle yet.
“Sebastian drove brilliantly well all weekend and he looked like he enjoyed himself out there,” underlined the Englishman, a former racer himself. “He was dominant since we arrived on Friday morning. He was absolutely faultless, and he was on it from start-to-finish. I'm delighted for him and happy for the team.
“Kimi came from further back two years ago. We admittedly have one eye on the championship – our goal is to win both the races – and the focus is about trying to put the pressure back on Brawn, Jenson and Rubens. We're now 16 points away and we were 25, so it's a better chance than it was.
“We have to go and attack them now, do what we did here and win the race in Brazil and hopefully take the championship into the final race in Abu Dhabi. All we can do is win and then see where it takes us.”