Sebastian Vettel says he can now properly enjoy his F1 world championship after helping Red Bull Racing clinch its second straight constructors' title.
The recently-crowned double world title winner admitted that the pressure had 'fallen off his shoulders' with his team successfully becoming back-to-back constructors' champions on the back of a 1-3 finish in the Korean Grand Prix. The team wrapped up the championship in an easier fashion this year thanks to Adrian Newey and his design team manufacturing a car not just with devastating pace but also bullet proof reliability. In 16 races, its only DNF has come from Webber's mistake at Monza, which left him in the Parabolica gravel trap, while Vettel has notched up ten wins.
The German, grounded competitor that he is, takes time to outline his team's achievements ahead of meeting - and congratulating - the backroom staff at Red Bull's Milton Keynes base on Wednesday.
"It seems to be very difficult for people to imagine what this really means, for the whole team and the whole factory," he conceded in an interview with the official F1 website, "It is not only a boost for the people that are working at the track, where everyone sees that they are making a difference. There is also much more taking place behind the scenes: the team in Milton Keynes is working day in and day out, every day and every month of the year. It is down to them to build those two competitive cars which we have on the track and are able to push to their limits."
If anyone expected the 23-year old to take it easy over the remaining three races, however, they would be sadly mistaken, for he can still claim a couple of records for wins and poles in a single season. And, with the titles now out of the way, there is nothing to think about but going for it.
"It was a lot of fun on the track on Sunday, but also a lot of pressure has fallen off my shoulders after I crossed the line," Vettel acknowledged, "Sure, people expect us now to lean back and take it easy, but this is not our approach, as we are here to win races and to do our best. And we managed to do exactly that. We had the chance to win and we took it."
Vettel, who now expects to celebrate with another Red Bull lap of his home town of Heppenheim before the Indian Grand Prix, insisted that he wasn't motivated by breaking records, but by being the best he can on any given occasion.
"[It's] not really breaking records, but having good race weekends - and Korea was one of them, as I thought I had a very strong weekend there," he noted, "On Saturday, I got second in qualifying, as Lewis [Hamilton] was just too strong and did a very good job. But we were much closer than expected and, [on] Sunday, it was a different story, as we were very strong in the race - and Sunday is the day that counts. Most important is that we leave this place knowing that we have done the best possible job.
"Our approach has been the same throughout the season. It is a long championship and even though it is decided, it is not over yet. We put pressure on ourselves, as we want to perform. When we did not get everything out of the car or ourselves, then we are not happy. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean we would be unhappy with a fifth. It is more about how things come together. If a fifth is what you deserve, then you can be happy to have reached that."
by Simon Evans