Ahead of a race that most predict will suit Red Bull Racing down to the ground, Sebastian Vettel has asserted that his sights remain firmly set on clinching the F1 2010 World Championship crown – and even if he acknowledges that the final five outings of what has already been a thrilling campaign will be tense indeed, he is 'optimistic' about his chances of emerging on top.
Vettel currently trails Red Bull team-mate and world championship leader Mark Webber by 24 points, with 125 still on the table between now and season's end. The young German harried current title rival Lewis Hamilton for victory under the Singapore spotlights this time twelve months ago, only for a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit-lane to scupper his hopes of glory.
Much has been made this year of Vettel's propensity for committing impetuous errors – the likes of which were seen in Turkey and Belgium in particular – and some argue it is just such mistakes that will ultimately end up denying the Heppenheim native the laurels, for all of the scintillating raw speed that has earned him pole position for half of the 14 grands prix thus far.
Reliability issues have similarly failed to aid his cause by costing him precious points, but as he continues his bid to usurp Hamilton as the top flight's youngest-ever title-winner, the 23-year-old is confident RBR will be right on the leading pace at every remaining circuit in F1 2010.
“We are not panicking,” Vettel told German Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag
. “We are quietly doing our work. I believe in the title – that is the most important thing. It will be very close in the [Abu Dhabi] finale, but I am optimistic.
“As a night race, Singapore is an unforgettable event. It's important to manage the time difference, so I try to sleep until the afternoon so my body thinks it's still in Europe. The circuit has 23 corners, so it's extremely important for the driver to find a good rhythm without touching the barriers. Besides that, this circuit is hard on brakes and it has a lot of kerbs; the resulting bumpiness demands extreme concentration from the driver. I think Singapore offers a great show for F1 fans – the cars come across on the TV like they're in a computer game, and the scenery is amazing.”
“I like Singapore,” concurred Webber, who has conversely retired from both races in the Far Eastern city-state to-date. “It's unique as we race at night. You get the impression the crowd is pretty close to the track in most sections, so it's certainly cosy.
“I'm hoping to improve on last year's result, as it's a high downforce street circuit that should suit our car. It's got some similarities to Monaco and Budapest and we did well at both those circuits, so I'm hoping for a strong result. We've yet to experience any wet running on a floodlit track, so it will be interesting if that happens.”