Sebastian Vettel has rejected the idea of settling for fifth place in next weekend’s Indian Grand Prix as the German driver looks to seal his fourth world championship and become just the third driver in F1 history to win four consecutive titles.
The German driver needs a top five finish in the race to clinch the drivers’ championship, but he is keen on winning a third race in India in order to finish the job in style.
“I will race there with winning on my mind,” Vettel told the official Formula One website. “Why is it that people always underestimate races? Nothing is easy – not even P5 – and nothing comes for free. There is always a huge amount of work involved.”
Vettel also said that it was not possible for Red Bull – a team that has enjoyed notable success over the past five years – to focus on anything but winning the race.
“It is never our style to say: ‘Well, let’s focus on finishing fifth.’ We always attack as much as we can – it is in the DNA of the team.”
That said, Vettel did squander the chance to win the Japanese Grand Prix back in 2011 in favor of easing off to finish third and seal his second championship. Furthermore, Vettel won his third crown in 2012 by finishing the Brazilian Grand Prix in sixth, giving him a three-point advantage over Fernando Alonso in the final standings. However, under the circumstances, this did require a great amount of effort following a tangle at turn four that saw him drop to the back of the field.
Red Bull can also secure their fourth successive constructors’ championship in India, with Ferrari having to outscore the defending world champions by nineteen points to stay in contention heading to Abu Dhabi.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.