Sebastian Vettel is eager to truly 'earn' a second consecutive F1 Drivers' World Championship this season and not simply 'cruise' to it, Adrian Newey has affirmed, as the German concedes that he will enter this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix in 'exactly the same way I have done all the others – trying to win'.
There is a chance – unlikely, perhaps, but mathematically nonetheless possible – that Vettel could wrap up the laurels under the Singaporean spotlights around the Marina Bay street circuit, should he tally his third victory in swift succession and ninth from 14 starts this season on Sunday and should the cards similarly fall his way with respect to the results of his principal rivals.
Pointing to the defending F1 World Champion's supremely gutsy pass on Ferrari's Fernando Alonso for the lead of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza last time out – with two wheels on the grass at over 200mph on the outside of Curva Grande, silencing those who claim he cannot race wheel-to-wheel – Red Bull Racing chief technical officer Newey contends that Vettel is firmly intent on triumphing in style rather than by default.
“Sebastian doesn't want to cruise to the world championship,” the Englishman reflected. “He really wants to earn it. That's what you saw at Monza – it was a ballsy move – and what's so impressive about him is that he very rarely makes the same mistake twice. He learns and he keeps confounding the critics. Last year, people were saying he's great if he gets out in the lead, but he can't overtake people. People won't be saying that after the last few races...”
In truth, so great has been Vettel's qualifying supremacy this year – with a staggering ten pole positions and just one start off the front row of the grid – that he has not had cause to do very much on-track overtaking at all, but if the need arises in Singapore, he makes it clear that he will not cautiously shy away from the fight as he bids to write his name in the history books once more as the youngest double world champion in F1 history.
“I'm in a very good position,” he acknowledged of his crushing 112-point advantage over his nearest pursuer in the title standings that has left most to surmise that it is now a question of 'when' rather than 'if' the 24-year-old successfully clinches the F1 2011 crown. “All my rivals would like to swap places with me, but I'll go into the race exactly the same way I have done all the others – trying to win.
“It's over when it's over, not before. You just have to look at last year as the best proof – we didn't know until the last lap of the last race. Obviously, this year it might be a bit different as I do have a lead, but there are still a lot of races to go. It has been an incredible year, and it would be great to win on Sunday – but I've still got to take it step-by-step and see what we can do.
“I am not thinking about it, because I haven't won anything yet. I think it's wrong to plan for something before it happens. It would be wrong for you to plan what you would do with a million dollars if you won the lottery tomorrow. First, you have to win. When it happens does not matter. As long as we are still first after the final race, that will be okay.”
Wise words indeed from the man who finished as runner-up to Alonso in Singapore this time last year, Vettel is confident but coy, refusing to take anything for granted despite the clear superiority of Newey's all-conquering RB7 and playing down his chances of glory this weekend. For all that, however, there remains a sense of inevitability about what is to come – and when that moment arrives, his employer already has a celebratory present in-mind.