20 August 2014
F1: Vettel takes 2013 memories to Spa
Sebastian Vettel has yet to find the top step of the F1 podium this season, but will the events of a year ago inspire him in Belgium this weekend?
Sebastian Vettel will not be listed among many people's favourites for this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, but the German has fond memories of last year's trip to the Ardennes.
Twelve months ago, Vettel was embroiled in a battle for his fourth F1 world championship title, but the annual visit to Spa-Francorchamps kick-started the charge that eventually saw him crowned well ahead of the season finale in Brazil. From Spa onwards, the Red Bull Racing driver remained unbeaten, equalling a record run of race wins that left his rivals demoralised.
“The race in Spa started our series of nine victories last year, which I always like to remember,” admitted Vettel who, unsurprisingly, acknowledged that the Belgian venue ranked high on his list of preferred destinations.
“The track is one of my favourites of the year because it feels like it has grown out of the nature that is all around it - it blends with the natural setting perfectly,” he continued, “It offers all possible turns and manoeuvres - ultra-fast, medium-speed, heavy braking and fast straights – and the height difference is so great that you always have the feeling of riding a rollercoaster - especially in Eau Rouge.
“The weather can also be very unpredictable and a challenge for drivers and teams - it should never be underestimated as, within minutes, it can change from heavy rain to sunshine.”
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo will be making his first visit to Spa as a member of the full Red Bull line-up, and also lists the track as one of his favourites. The Australian returns to action having gone into the summer break as winner of the most recent grand prix, in Hungary, and is looking forward to the test offered by Spa.
“Above all, Spa is a racing circuit - one that really encourages exciting wheel-to-wheel action,” he explained, “That said, F1 has changed over the years and whereas Eau Rouge and Blanchimont were once the stand-out sections, now it's probably the Pouhon downhill left-hander at turns 10-11. That's seriously, seriously fast – and probably a good place to watch the race from for anyone prepared for a bit of a hike through the Ardennes.
“Of course, given the Belgium Grand Prix draws in all the petrolheads, everyone's perfectly happy to slog through the woods to find the best view. You bump into people who've been going to the race for five decades – and, if you ever go into a pub or restaurant in one of the villages around the circuit, chances are you'll see pictures on the wall of great drivers from back in the day, standing where you are and doing what you're doing. It's great stuff!”
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