Despite adding his names to the F1 world championship trophy for a third time this year, Sebastian Vettel has warned his rivals that he will be looking to provide Red Bull with another double success in 2013.
The German, fresh from a sixth
straight victory in the Race of Champions' Nations Cup competition, claimed that he never needed to motivate himself to get up for the fight on track, even if he isn't quite as driven as some would believe.
“Killer instinct? That's not me,” he told the official F1 website, “I know that I have a special position in the team, yes, but I definitely do consider myself as a team member. And, as a team member, I want us to be as successful in 2013 as we have been this year and the two previous years.
“Personally, I never had to simulate motivation - that is part of my nature. Sure, right now, it is nice to savour the title win and everything that goes with it, but what stays in your memory much more than anything else are the steps that got you there: the nervousness on the grid at the first race, the stress when it didn't work out as planned, the podiums… All these moments stay in your head forever.”
The 2012 championship, in direct contrast to the previous year, was punctuated by moments where it clearly 'didn't work out as planned' for Vettel, but the German insists that he never gave up on the pursuit of his hat-trick.
“What was key this year was that we never stopped believing. And, believe me, that is easier said than done. There are so many 'experts' out there making throwaway remarks about who will be the champion and who the loser, and you don't have to let that get to you - not the positive and not the negative. You have to focus completely on your own business and never worry about what other people do or don't do.
“What some of my competitors might have underestimated - but which probably was a huge cornerstone of the success - is the understanding that every single point counts. Only three points - nearly even less - stood between first and second in the end, between having your name on the trophy again or not.”
Vettel's success in 2012 saw him set more records, including becoming the youngest-ever triple champion, replacing Ayrton Senna, but it appears that he is still amazed by his achievements.
“Of course, you hope that [the championship trophy] will return to you, but you also understand, when you read all the engraved names on it, that it has a very distinct life of its own,” he reflected, “Now it is back in my kitchen, on the kitchen table, to prod me to go out and fight for it in 2013.