Christian Horner refuses to anticipate a third successive F1 world drivers' title is just around the corner for Sebastian Vettel, aware that fate has a happy knack of biting the unwary.
Vettel heads into the final two rounds of the 2012 championship with a ten-point lead over Fernando Alonso, and needs to outscore the Spaniard by a further 15 in the USGP to prevent the race going to the final round next weekend. The German did what he needed to do in qualifying by putting his Red Bull
onto the sixth pole position of his campaign, while Alonso could manage only ninth, but, despite the Spaniard then suffering another blow by being promoted to the dirty side of the grid by Romain Grosjean's gearbox penalty, Horner would not accept that Vettel's hold on the trophy had got any stronger.
"Our focus is very much on this weekend's race, trying to extract the most out of the car, the team and the drivers," he told the official F1 website, "We are taking pretty much one race at a time. Sport writes its own laws. Anything can happen, so we don't take anything for granted. We've got ourselves in a healthy position in the constructors' championship, but obviously the drivers' championship is a lot tighter, so it is paramount for us to have a strong weekend here.
"Believe me, it is fantastic having achieved the first ever pole position on this mint track here in Texas [and], with Mark [Webber] starting from P3, we have strengthened our position even further for the race tomorrow, but the thing with Fernando, unfortunately, is that, wherever he qualifies, he always seems to end up on the podium. I am sure he'll make progress from starting from P8 tomorrow."
Horner also insisted that there would be no special tactical approach to Sunday's race in Austin, or the following one in Brazil for that matter,
"We go into these last two races like we go into every race," he maintained, "These are two races out of 20 - the difference is just that they are at the end of the championship. Our approach is not different to the first race many long months ago in Australia. That means that our approach is to attack this weekend - and in Brazil next weekend.
"We are very much focused on ourselves. We can't control what other people do or say, we can only see that we are doing the best job that we can and, hopefully, arrive in Brazil and not look back with any real regrets. As a team, we are an extremely strong unit and we are focused on the job at hand.
"As a team, we haven't always had the fastest car but, as a team, we have collectively worked tremendously well. We have worked hard to develop the car after the regulation changes over the winter and we have maximised our chances on occasions where a fourth position was the best on offer. We have never given up and never stopped pushing. If you are at a circuit Thursday or Friday night, you will find us always in the garage - the last [team] to leave is Red Bull. It is that working and fighting spirit, not only at races, but also back in the factory."
Horner was also fulsome in his praise for the team's main adversary after the list of contenders was whittled from five to two after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
"Fernando has driven with tremendous consistency this year," he reflected, "I think he is at his peak. He has used every opportunity when he had them presented to him. He is a formidable competitor and I am sure the he is going to push all the way in this championship.
"We have clearly demonstrated that Red Bull's success hasn't been the flavour for a season, but something to stay, with fantastic results in a short period of time. If we are to achieve a third consecutive constructors' title - and only three other teams in the history of the sport have ever achieved that - then that, by far, would be our greatest achievement. If we manage to beat Ferrari
- a fantastic team that has been in F1 since the very beginning, [and] with a great driver driving for them - [we've] done a fantastic job."