Sebastian Vettel has admitted that it is a special feeling to know that he is leaving his mark on F1, even if he insists that he does not approach race weekends with one eye on setting new records.
While debate rages as to whether the German could one day equal countryman Michael Schumacher's haul of seven world titles, Vettel continues to rack up landmarks, equalling Juan Manuel Fangio's 28 pole positions with top spot in qualifying for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix on Saturday. While not the outright record - Vettel has a long way to go before he equals the outright pole record, held by Schumacher at 68 - the younger German is excited about making his mark on the sport.
"I didn't know [about the Fangio statistic] but, yeah, it's definitely special," Vettel admitted, "I obviously know a lot of the names in F1 from the past, former drivers and roughly what they achieved. I'm not an expert, but it's definitely great, it's special to be part of a sport that has so much history because it always allows you to compare yourself in many ways. And not just today, back 20 years ago it was the same and, in another 20 years' time, it will probably still be the same.
"But I'm not really jumping into the car thinking 'okay, one more and I will equal Fangio'. I think you really have to focus on what you do, and that's the way eventually you get to somewhere like that. I think the time when Fangio achieved that [figure] was different compared to today. He didn't do that many races, especially as they had less races per season. But I'm still motivated, even without knowing too many numbers and statistics [although], of course, it's very special to hear that."
Equalling Fangio's mark wasn't the only record involving Vettel on Saturday - although the individual achievement was called into question due to differing views over whether the Argentine could count his pole from the 1956 French GP - as Red Bull Racing racked up its 16th start from P1 in a single season. While the opportunity to beat the five-way tie of 15 poles was made easier by the expanded calendar, there is no doubting RBR's dominance in 2011, and Vettel should be expected to extend that mark further over the remaining two races.
"It was a good session for us, [but] tricky for all of us first time round in qualifying," he noted, "In the end, we ended up with one racing line clear of dirt, and [if you run] just a little bit out it makes you lose a lot of time, so it was quite tricky. But I think we managed pretty well. The car was fantastic, this morning as well and throughout qualifying, [but] I think, in the end, there was a little bit left in the first sector."