His F1 2010 World Championship hopes might have been rocked by his late-race engine failure whilst in the lead of the inaugural Korean Grand Prix last weekend, but Sebastian Vettel has warned his title rivals – and, likely most significantly, his Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber – that he is 'the last person to give up'.
Had Vettel triumphed in Korea as he looked all-set to do after expertly dominating proceedings from qualifying and all the way through the race in treacherously difficult conditions, then he would now be leading the drivers' standings by seven points from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, and by eleven from Webber – margin enough, F1's conspiracy theorists might argue, for the energy drinks-backed outfit to elect to throw their full weight behind the young German's bid for glory at the expense of the Australian's.
As it, is, with Alonso inheriting the top spot on the podium in Yeongam County, it is the Spaniard who now holds an eleven-point advantage over Webber – who crashed out early on in Korea – and 25 points over fourth-placed Vettel, equivalent to a race victory with only 50 points remaining up for grabs.
Whilst admitting that his cruel ill-fortune – far from the first time he has lost valuable ground through poor reliability this season – was hard to swallow, the 23-year-old Heppenheim native is adamant that he will keep on fighting right the way to the end, comforted by the knowledge that the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in F1 2010 have tended to swing one way and then the next.
“I am the last person to give up,” Vettel is quoted as having said by British newspaper The Sun
. “My chances? They are how they are, but as long as I have a tiny chance... We still have two races to go, and we saw in Korea how quickly things can change. The race for the title is not over yet, so let's wait to see what the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi brings.
“[The engine failure] was such a hard moment. With Mark's crash it was hard as a team, but the reason for the failure was not my fault. There was no sign from the engine of any defect; in Turn 17 I lost a row of cylinders, and I could then count down to when it would break. We have engines with little mileage, though, so I'll be fine for the remaining two races.”
What's more, the eight-time grand prix-winner has received a boost after RBR team principal Christian Horner confirmed that notwithstanding the Milton Keynes-based squad's first double DNF in over 50 races in Korea leaving them under pressure heading next to Brazil, Vettel will not be asked to support Webber's challenge for the laurels, despite many opining that such a tactic would be the only way to prevent Alonso from effectively cruising to the crown.
“We have two fantastic drivers, and we will continue to support both equally in-line with Red Bull's credible sporting ethos,” the Englishman stressed.