Vettel relishing return to site of 2011 championship win

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Sebastian Vettel is looking forward to returning to Suzuka for next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, where he clinched his second Formula 1 world championship back in 2011.

The German driver has struggled to get to grips with the new regulations in 2014, scoring just three podium finishes and failing to win a race as his championship defence has failed to live up to expectations.

Nevertheless, Vettel has fond memories of racing at Suzuka, and considers the event to be one of the highlights of the F1 season.

“Suzuka has been a very positive place for me in the past, I’ve won the race three times and I also won the world championship there in 2011 which was a fantastic experience,” Vettel said in Red Bull’s grand prix preview.

“Suzuka as a whole is a fantastic circuit, probably the only circuit you can compare it to on the calendar is Spa. It is a very challenging circuit, especially the first sector where there is a lot of high speed corners.

“I really enjoy those, but later on you also have the spoon corner, which is very technical and a big challenge, as well as 130R.”

Vettel also paid tribute to the passionate fans that flock to Suzuka for the race, which is one of the best attended of the year.

“The Japanese fans are very committed, they know everything about us drivers and even wait until late into the night at the circuit to see the drivers and get an autograph,” the German said.

“Also after the race on Sunday they stay until the evening to watch the race replay on the big TV monitors. They sit in the grandstands even if it’s cold and wet. They are really very passionate but not aggressive and that makes them even more adorable.”