Vettel eyes repeat of 2010 cliff-hanger
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel said this year’s unpredictable Formula One title race could be shaping up to be a repeat of 2010, when he memorably sealed victory on the last day of the season.
The defending world champion leapt to second in the standings behind Fernando Alonso with victory in Sunday’s dramatic Singapore Grand Prix, which was only his second win of the season.
Last year, Vettel cruised to his second successive title with 11 victories. But he said the “incredible” current season, with seven different winners in 14 races, may be headed for a cliff-hanger.
“I don’t think Fernando would be too happy if it happened again in the last race,” said the 25-year-old. “But it’s an incredible season for all of us.
“We have a lot of races left, the car seems to be competitive and we just have to use the momentum and keep pushing for these last races and see what happens.”
In 2010, Alonso led the series and Vettel lay third going into the final race in Abu Dhabi, with four drivers capable of clinching it on the last day. But the German, then 23, drove peerlessly to become Formula One’s youngest champion.
Vettel showed similar steel in Sunday’s race when he weathered a welter of incidents on Singapore’s tight street circuit — including a dramatic crash involving Michael Schumacher, and two safety cars — to clinch victory.
He is now breathing down Alonso’s neck with 165 points, 29 points off the leader. Kimi Raikkonen is on 149 and Lewis Hamilton, the early leader in Singapore before he was forced to retire, has 142.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner pointed out that Vettel “was 25 points down with two races to go in 2010, which indicates anything is possible for all the drivers”.
“We need to keep taking points off Fernando, which ideally means getting a few more cars between us and him,” Horner said.
Vettel was also encouraged by Red Bull’s pace after picking up points in five of the last six races. He was also untroubled by the alternator problem which forced him out of this month’s Italian Grand Prix.
“There’s a lot of races left and it’s a bit difficult to predict what’s going to happen. We have to make sure that we finish the races first of all,” Vettel said.
“I think the pace is there, even if we are not quick enough to win then it is good enough to collect a lot of points. And we have to make sure we do that.
“It’s a tough championship so far but we’re still in it. We’re still looking forward to the next couple of races, and obviously the target at the moment is to beat Fernando.”