Sebastian Vettel insists that, despite all his success, that there is still no substitute for hard work when it comes to being the best.

The German, speaking to the official F1 website ahead of the FIA prizegiving ceremony, where he was due to pick up the trophy for his fourth successive world title, admitted that he had been lucky not to feel the burden of others' expectations, but insisted that that did not mean that he did was entirely free from pressure.

"It has been incredible to [win four titles] in such a short time but, on the other hand, it was also always about taking the next step," he explained, "Sometimes you realised that you weren't ready for that next step, so you worked on yourself and made sure that you were ready the next time.

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"I was very lucky never having to feel pressure from the people who were close to me trying to push me into something that I was not ready for. Of course, my ultimate goal was always to win the F1 title, to prove that I could do it, [but] to win two or three or four times - or even more - is way beyond your imagination, so when it happens you just go with the flow.

"I can say that I am the one who puts the most pressure on me. I expect myself to perform. I don't expect to win or to be one of the best. You have to work very hard to win races - this does not come out of the blue. You have a certain amount of talent - you can't influence the amount of talent that you have, but there are a lot of other things that I can influence and I am focusing on those. Winning the title in 2010 was a huge relief in that respect."

Surprisingly, Vettel insisted that winning - either races or championships - is not confirmation of a job well done, suggesting that a perfectionist lies within

"The moment you cross the finishing line, you want to have the feeling that you've done your best - and that does not necessarily mean that you've won the race," he confirmed, "Sometimes you win a race, but know that you've made a mistake here, had a lapse there. So you won, but the satisfaction level is not that high.

"And then there are sometimes races like for me in China, where I didn't qualify well because the speed was not there and so we decided to run a different strategy. Slowly, we came through the field and nearly finished on the podium. That was a very satisfying race for me as I had the feeling that I had given everything I had.

"What does that teach you? That, by no means, is a race only a good race when you win. Sometimes the 'troubled' races are the ones that get the best out of you, where your 'recovery' qualities are what make the difference. China was similarly satisfying to the race in India, where I was able to control the race. It's only sad that, after a race like in China, where you personally feel you've done everything right, coming from a difficult starting position, you don't get a trophy."

While four world titles speak for themselves, there is always the nagging suggestion that Vettel had the best car, a team that was fully behind his pursuit of the crown and a team-mate who, while a good driver in his own right, was seen as a step behind the greats of the current era. Asked for his response to those who feel that he won't be complete until he has beaten the likes of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso in equal machinery, Vettel - who will be teamed with Daniel Ricciardo in 2014 - insists that he has done enough to avoid the need for such comparisons.

"I think, at the end of the day, we don't have to prove anything - we've proven enough," he claimed, "We have had four fantastic years - and where were all the others in those four years?

"Nothing happens without a reason. Of course, you need the right package - and we had that strong package - but I remember we also had a strong package in 2009 and finished second in the championship. Think of last year: the championship was not decided when I was sent to the back of the grid in Abu Dhabi and had to fight my way back. Then we had a nightmare of a race in Brazil: the car was damaged and I was last after the first lap and managed to come back. So we had our share of misfortune on many occasions and it was down to the others to seize their chances in such moments. I am convinced that you create your own luck. There will always be people who doubt, but that is their problem."