2 October 2014
F1 Japanese Grand Prix: Vettel aiming for podium repeat
Sebastian Vettel is hoping to take a podium finish in this weekend's Japanese F1 Grand Prix before inevitable engine penalties make life harder for the Red Bull team.
Sebastian Vettel has admitted that he would love nothing more than standing on the podium at the end of one of his most favourite F1 races on Sunday.
Like the majority of his rivals, the four-time world champion holds the Suzuka circuit in high esteem and, combining the challenge of its sweeps and rolls with the ardent crowd the race attracts, he places great store in being able to celebrate as part of the top three.
After Red Bull's improved showing in Singapore two weekends ago, Vettel is optimistic that he can make another run at the podium in Japan, even though it is unlikely that Mercedes will make his goal any easier, with Nico Rosberg looking to bounce back from his Marina Bay DNF to keep team-mate Lewis Hamilton's championship surge in check.
“I think there is always [a chance of getting back onto the podium],” Vettel insisted, “There is always the chance to do well, to race well and, usually, this circuits suits me, suits our car.
“I think we should be a little bit closer [to the frontrunners] this weekend, although whether we will be as strong as in Singapore is difficult to say. It's a different nature of track, but it is definitely one that I enjoy - and it is an atmosphere that I really enjoy.”
Vettel's dream could yet be dented by impending penalties for exceeding the mandated number of engines for the season. Both team and driver have openly admitted that at least a ten-place grid penalty will need to be taken in the coming weeks, leaving the main question whether RBR can manipulate the change to make it less punishing.
“The rules are as they are and, surely, at some stage we will have to take some penalties,” Vettel acknowledged, “What those will be is not entirely clear yet, but we're hoping to get as far as we can. It is inevitable that we'll go for another engine on my side, which is already [carrying a penalty of] ten positions after qualifying.
“Potentially there is more waiting for us, which is a consequence of the poor first half of the season that we had in terms of reliability, but that is something we knew back then and we now have to figure out the smartest plan - and the smartest track - to come up with the penalty.”
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