Vettel says it is natural he should be considered favourite for 2012
Sebastian Vettel says it is only natural he should be seen as the favourite for the 2012 Formula 1 world championship given his form over the past two years
The 24-year-old German enters the season chasing an historic third consecutive title, a feat only Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher have achieved.
Having captured 11 wins and 15 pole positions in a "nearly faultless" 2011, Vettel says it is logical for him to be considered favourite even as other teams gradually close the gap to Red Bull.
"Generally the one who wins it the year before is usually among the favourites the next season," Vettel told The Guardian.
Asked if he considered himself the outright favourite, he replied: "Yes.
"Last year was nearly faultless, and if I see the steps the team has taken it's incredible. You don't have this kind of season very often. Even if you look at the seasons Michael had, when dominating, we did something special.
"The last two years we came up with some very clever solutions and it's normal that, after a while, people work out how to copy us.
"I think last year we didn't have a car as strong as 2010, but we were stronger as a team. Rules change and that's part of Formula 1."
Vettel also pledged not to let his effort and dedication wane away from the track, explaining that success drives his passion for the sport.
"Just because you know how to win a championship doesn't mean you forget all the small steps you take," he said.
"[If] I've just finished my debrief with the team I could go off for dinner, but I won't. If the engine pops in a race I would feel bad and think maybe it was because I was lazy and didn't push 100 per cent.
"If I make a mistake, OK, it happens. As long as I've done everything to be at the top of my game then I'm all right. That's why I'm happy to work late.
"It's the same as every other job: you need passion to succeed. Yes, being a racing driver is a special job but, generally, if you don't like what you do then you're not going to be very good.
"Obviously, racing in F1, all of us are very fortunate because we're doing something we loved as a child and now it's our job - and we earn good money. So for us, as drivers, it's great. And when you're successful it becomes even better."
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
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
The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes
Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold
Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. On the 50th anniversary of his death, Autosport recalls the career of an F1 and sportscar ace gone before his time
OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes
Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season
Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant