Vettel banks on experience
Fri, 26 Oct 2012 5:42a.m.
Sebastian Vettel has won the Formula One title coming from behind, and as the front-runner.
So he's confident, having dramatically grabbed the lead in the standings, that he knows how to hold off former two-time champion Fernando Alonso to win his third straight title.
Vettel looked to be out of contention in mid-year when he trailed Alonso by 44 points.
But Alonso, who has surpassed all expectations in a car even Ferrari didn't like, undermined his campaign with first-corner crashes in Belgium and Japan, then watched Vettel reel off successive wins in Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
The Red Bull driver is at the Indian Grand Prix this week leading the championship by six points.
"If you are in that position where you have to score more points, you have to make sure you stay ahead of everyone, or at least the one you are after," Vettel said. "Equally, if you are in the top position you might not take the risks, but we are not in that kind of position to be laid back. We have to push as hard as we can for the next couple of races to stay all the way up.
"We're in a better position than three, four races ago. We'll obviously try to do our best but nothing changes in our approach. It will be an extremely important race for us."
While he's aware of the big picture, Vettel said he and Red Bull can't afford to look beyond this week.
"It will be special to win a fourth consecutive race but it is not about winning these (last) four races but to win over the weekend here," he said. "This year has been difficult with so many different cars winning and small things can make a big difference."
At least he's been in this position before.
In 2010, he didn't lead F1 until he won the last race in Abu Dhabi, pipping Alonso by four points to become the series' youngest champion. Last year, he dominated the series to sew it up with four races to spare.
All that experience bolsters his confidence this year of becoming only the third driver after Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher to win three straight championships.
"Winning the first championship was a big relief as that had always been my target," he said. "One doesn't have an advantage because of winning the previous championship, but I felt last year that I had proved myself again."
Alonso, struggling to regain the momentum he built up in the first half of the year, said he's aiming to make things difficult for Vettel at Buddh International Circuit, "one of the most challenging" on the circuit.
"I'm very happy to be back here. The course has some very strong turns. It may not be at its best yet as it has not been used much, but should be good to drive on Saturday and Sunday," said Alonso, who finished third here last year.
"Red Bull is very strong and quick. But everyone will have strong and weak points. At the end of the day it will be about the whole package. We hope to continue to do whatever we've done right this season."
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