25 October 2013
Indian Grand Prix: Only perfection can derail Vettel run, admits team-mate
Sebastian Vettel is in such a rich vein of form that only something special will beat him, according to Mark Webber.
Mark Webber has conceded that he will need to produce a perfect weekend if he is to end Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel's string of victories.
The German has claimed every race since F1's summer break, with only a third-place finish in Hungary preventing that run from stretching back over seven rounds to mid-summer, and now only needs a fifth-place finish in this weekend's Indian GP to ensure a fourth successive world championship. With Michael Schumacher's record of 13 wins in a single season still possible with a 100 per cent record between now and Brazil, however, Webber does not expect Vettel to ease off.
“He's on a phenomenal run and his stats here in the last few years [show] he's been pretty strong,” the Australian observed, “It needs a perfect weekend – pole, perfect race, perfect strategy, perfect everything - to obviously put him off the top step, so that's got to be the plan.”
Despite the animosity that has marked their time together at Red Bull – and even before that if Vettel's rear-ending of the Australian in the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix is taken into account – Webber is not blind to the German's abilities, particularly as he nears a landmark fourth title.
“Yeah, obviously he's had an incredible run,” the veteran acknowledged, “Some of the championships have been tight, some less tight. Obviously '11 and this year have been pretty much a non-event, but 2010 and 2012 went up to the last race.
“I think he's certainly done an incredible job. I think he's been very strong on the Pirellis; obviously [on] the Bridgestones, he was probably a little bit tighter but, on Pirellis, he's certainly been very strong, [with] no real weaknesses on those tyres.
“He's just super consistent and that's what's made him strong, obviously. He also gets the most out of the package. Obviously the car's been quick and he's capitalised on a lot of venues. He's won with a dominant car, but also he's won with a car which some races is probably not [good enough], certainly over those four years, to win races he probably shouldn't have won races. That's also been a quality of his.”
While Vettel gears up to celebrate another championship, Webber continues to count down to the end of his career in the top flight, with just four races remaining, including this weekend's round in India. The Australian is not one to betray his emotions, however, insisting that he is looking forward rather than back.
“My mentality hasn't really changed from the start of the year,” he claimed, “I'm still enjoying driving the car to a degree and [this weekend is] no exception to that. The last grand prix [was] obviously [at] the best racing track in the world in Suzuka – unfortunately they can't design them like that any more, it's a beautiful circuit – but this is not bad and, yeah, [there are] some good tracks to look forward to. That's the bit that I still enjoy – to a degree. It would be nice to get a top result before the year's out but, yeah, it'll be four weeks and that's it.”
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