Vettel plays down favourite status

Sebastian Vettel has played down talk that he is the man to beat in Formula 1 after his strong start to the season - by insisting he is still in catch-up mode

Vettel plays down favourite status

Although his Red Bull Racing team has started in pole position at the first three races of the season, Vettel's reliability troubles in Bahrain and Australia cost him valuable points and has allowed Felipe Massa to lead the title chase.

And it is the points standings, not the form of the cars, that Vettel believes is what counts in F1 - regardless of whether his team currently enjoys a performance advantage over the opposition.

"If you look at the world championship there is no gap, we are behind," said Vettel. "We have to catch up; we have to keep going as we did last race and catch up with the others.

"For the people, for you, I am probably the man to beat, but for myself I don't think about these things, very much. The approach is the same as last weekend. We try to get everything out and try to win. We have a very strong car, we are in a good way, the team is working fantastically well at the moment and we try to win."

Vettel thinks that despite Red Bull Racing's form in the first few races of the year, there is no guarantee his outfit will be at the front of the field in China this weekend.

"As far as I remember we won the last race so that puts you in the position that you are the favourite to win again - but it goes race by race," he said. "Still we have to do a very good job, similar to Malaysia, to get everything right. We target to have the same kind of result but it is a long way. The job starts in practice and we will see what happens by the chequered flag."

He added: "I don't think there is too big a gap between us and others. If you take Malaysia, the race we come from, we were in a bit of a luxury position because some of the quick teams failed in qualifying and were not qualifying at the top.

"I think the race would have been a bit different if we would have started all in the front, especially McLaren looked competitive in Malaysia. You cannot say that they were quicker or we were quicker than them. It is not that we have a massive advantage as some teams had five years ago, but last year and this year it seems there are more than two teams able to win races."

shares
comments
Toro Rosso investigating Buemi accident
Previous article

Toro Rosso investigating Buemi accident

Next article

Upright failure caused Buemi's crash

Upright failure caused Buemi's crash
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle Plus

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

Formula 1
Oct 26, 2021
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021