JAPANESE GRAND Prix winner Sebastian Vettel has revealed that victories rather than a place in Formula One’s history books are his motivating force.
Vettel is now on the cusp of becoming only the third driver in F1 to win a fourth consecutive world title, standing alongside two of the greats in Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio.
Setting a personal best record of five successive wins, and a fourth in the last five years at Suzuka, Vettel is now 90 points clear of the only man mathematically capable of catching him.
With Fernando Alonso finishing fourth, it means the champagne is on ice for another fortnight until the Indian Grand Prix where Red Bull should also celebrate their fourth straight constructors’ crown.
For Vettel, standing on top of the podium at Suzuka summed up why he is in F1 because after the boos at Monza and in Singapore, there were nothing but cheers and adoration from the knowledgeable Japanese fans
Offered a choice between going down in history with Schumacher and Fangio, or standing on top of every podium on the calendar, Vettel replied: “I prefer the second thing.”
The 26-year-old German added: “When I was small I dreamed about F1, and honestly never thought one day I would be able to test one of these cars.
“The first time I did I s*** myself the first couple of laps and I thought ‘All right, that’s for real men, not for me’, but then I got used to it and obviously wanted to do more.
“A couple of years later Red Bull gave me the chance at Toro Rosso to get some races, and it’s incredible what’s happened over the last couple of years.
“But nothing has changed in the way I still love racing, I love the challenge, I’m still nervous when I wake up on Sunday, still excited when I walk on the grid and tense, looking forward to the race.
“I enjoy – not the numbers – but the fact I’m racing, and a great crowd today, a fantastic day.
“It would be a shame if you were too tense and if you tried to force things too much, so you have to allow yourself to enjoy it because this (the job) is not normal. It doesn’t happen to everyone.
“I’m very fortunate I’m one of 22 guys in Formula One, that when we leave our hotels we get great respect from the fans who are cheering, shouting our names, and it’s just great.”