Runaway F1 2011 World Championship leader Sebastian Vettel has asserted that both he and Red Bull Racing 'deserve' to be in the dominant position they are in seven races from the end of the campaign – pointing to a much 'calmer' atmosphere inside the team now, devoid of the 'panic' of seasons past.
Vettel arrived at Monza ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix – a race in which he astonishingly claimed his breakthrough F1 victory with Scuderia Toro Rosso three years ago, in so doing making history as the youngest race-winner in the sport's history – holding a commanding 92-point advantage over his closest pursuer in the title chase, and closing inexorably in on a second consecutive drivers' world championship crown.
With seven triumphs from twelve starts this season, should the young German replicate his Monza success of 2008, then mathematically, he could seal the deal as early as the Singapore Grand Prix at the end of this month – and having conversely not led the standings until the very final race in 2010, he contends that his and the team's position twelve months on is entirely merited.
Although he is well aware that the Italian circuit's high-speed, low-downforce nature is not anticipated to suit Adrian Newey's RB7 as well as many other tracks on the calendar – with Red Bull having taken the chequered flag no higher than fourth there in six previous starts – Vettel knows he can take heart from the Milton Keynes-based squad's one-two finish last time out at Spa-Francorchamps, similarly not expected to play to the car's strengths.
“We've made very few mistakes, and I think we deserve to be in that position,” the 24-year-old is quoted as having said by The Associated Press
. “As a team, we've learned a lot. Our pit-stops are very good, but a lot of the things that you don't see on TV have made us more consistent. The team is a lot calmer and doesn't panic as much.
“We're not clear favourites for this race – last year, McLaren and Ferrari performed really well here. We know it's not one of the circuits we really prefer from the layout point-of-view – there are a lot of straights and no real high-speed corners – but I think we should be alright after Spa. It would be nice to get back on the podium.”
Those sentiments are broadly echoed by RBR team-mate – and Vettel's closest championship rival – Mark Webber, who admits that he was buoyed by the team's Belgian prowess a fortnight ago...and that after tallying seven rostrum finishes from the opening twelve grands prix but none of them on the top step, he remains fiercely determined to belatedly break his F1 2011 duck before the campaign concludes.
“It's disappointing that I haven't won a race yet, but I'm sure it will happen before the year is out,” the Australian is quoted as having said by SPEED.com
. “If it's this weekend, then there's no better place to start than Monza.
“Spa has given us a little bit of confidence. We were a bit more competitive in the first sector and the last sector where traditionally we haven't been. The track here, yes, it's quick but it does have some different demands to Spa in terms of the profile of the corners, and obviously there's some curbing as well. We have some confidence after Spa, but we're not coming here thinking we're going to be in amazing shape.
“We're going to be competitive, [but] Ferrari and McLaren will be quick again, so Spa just gave us a bit of confidence to come to this venue and maybe do a bit better than we probably would have been able to if it was the other way around – if Monza was first, we might be more nervous.”