Sebastian Vettel doesn't believe his current level of dominance is comparable to that enjoyed by Michael Schumacher and Ferrari between 2000 and 2004.
Vettel arrives in Japan this weekend having won the last four races and he could clinch his fourth F1 Drivers' title in a row this Sunday.
His dominance - and that of Red Bull - led Lewis Hamilton to say post-Korea that he 'feels for the fans' and that it is getting rather boring
: “I remember the period of time when Michael Schumacher was winning. I remember waking up in the morning to watch the start of the race and then going to sleep, and then waking up when it ended because I already knew what would happen. I am pretty sure a lot of people were doing that,” said the Mercedes driver.
Although the Brit subsequently felt it necessary to issue a clarification
, via his Twitter account, adding that Vettel is a 'great champion' and 'deserves the success', the German was still quizzed on the matter ahead of the 15th round in the 2013 F1 World Championship in Suzuka.
“Well, that's a compliment, first of all,” Vettel replied when asked about the boring jibes. “I think it's very different [to what it was with Schumacher].
“I think there's probably one race which was a bit of an exception. If you take Singapore, the gaps we had and were able to build up were incredible, to lap two seconds quicker than the cars behind us, but obviously it depends on who was behind us at the time and which tyres [they had] and so on.
“But anyway, what I want to say is that if you take Korea, which I think is more similar to Spa, the gap was something between three and six seconds for the whole race. If you look at ten years ago, it was more like thirty to sixty seconds which is a big difference.
“Don't get me wrong, it's a nice cushion to have in the car, when you see that you're three seconds down the road, but equally you know that if you make one stupid mistake – in Korea, for example, a lock-up which was very likely and three seconds is nothing compared to thirty or sixty.”
As for the subsequent Tweets from Hamilton, Vettel added that he can only return the compliments: “Obviously it's very nice to hear something like that. I think I can only give it back.
"There is respect amongst the drivers, obviously there's a lot of stuff that gets written and said but I think that the most important thing is when you go up to another driver, whether you feel respected or not and I think that is the case. I think Lewis is one of the best drivers currently in F!. I get along quite well with him lately so I can only say 'thank you very much' and give it back."