Sebastian Vettel reckons the 'most deserving' driver will win the 2012 F1 drivers' title this season.
The battle for the crown is finely balanced as the sports head to the Circuit of the Americas this weekend for the inaugural US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. Indeed while Vettel is most people's favourite, given his recent form and the performance of the Red Bull RB8 compared to the Ferrari F2012, with just a ten point cushion over arch rival, Fernando Alonso, it is anything but decided.
“Of course the last races we had were very good for us, to put it mildly,” Vettel told the official F1 site, www.formula1.com
, ahead of the 19th and penultimate round in the 2012 F1 World Championship.
“They have helped us a lot. If you look at the whole season with 20 races, you do have incidences that you don't like to have, you probably have some retirements due to technical problems. We had those - and hopefully we have now passed this phase.
“It is very hard to run so many races without incidents. It is not something that is part of your calculation, but you have to be prepared when it hits you not to stand there with eyes wide open.
“If you look at the races we've done so far I think Fernando's and my DNF's or calamities are equal.
“I still believe that the driver who deserves it most will be champion. No doubt we are in a very good position now and I hope we do well until the very end to make sure that we deserve the glory.”
So how does he assess his year and what's been the highlight?
“I hope it is still to come!” he added. “Maybe the first win of the season in Bahrain was a big relief - to know that everything is still functioning the way it used to.
“A highlight for sure was the win in Singapore [too], because I consider it physically the hardest race of the season. And, of course, the Abu Dhabi race. But as I just said, I hope the best is still yet to come...”
Meanwhile, this weekend's race will be a landmark one for Vettel, as it will be his 100th at the pinnacle of the sport.
“It's all gone so quickly,” he continued. “One hundred is a big number - one hundred Grand's Prix sounds a lot: one hundred starts, one hundred times surviving the first corner.
“If I reflect on it, it doesn't feel so long ago that I broke into F1. That shows me that time flies when you do something that you really like and enjoy. So let's focus on the second hundred!”