Sebastian Vettel has admitted that he is the outsider going into the final five races of the season.
Placed fifth of the five contenders, with 24 points fewer than Mark Webber, Vettel is nevertheless still less than a win away from his team mate.
He’s never stood on the podium here in Singapore, even though he was competitive here last year, qualifying on the front row. This season he has been the most consistent of all the front runners in qualifying, with top three placings in all the first 12 races, only slipping back in the last two races. It’s his performance in races which has not been up to expectations. He knows that he has a chance to rectify that, however, if he can string a run of wins together.
But he accepts that he is the long shot for the title,
“If you look at the five, I’m the last one in the queue, so I’m the outsider. Some people have to get along with being the favourite. But it doesn’t change anything in my approach. I try to do my optimum. We will always try, We have a very good chance to win this championship still. But the last 14 races have been up and down.”
This position might suit him. He seems very calm this weekend, certainly more so than at some of the races in the summer. He’s come off worst in several bruising encounters, but his ability to qualify at or near the front will be very useful on this street circuit.
At this level you are only as strong as you main weakness and in Red Bull’s case lately this has been the starts. Red Bull boss Christian Horner sat down with a few of us this evening to put the problems with the starts under the spotlight,
“There are many factors from clutch settings to engine mapping, to preparation on a warm up lap to the grid, driver input,” he said. “There are a lot of variables to bring together.
“In Monza Sebastian’s start was average, he just came out of the tow a bit early. Mark’s start wasn’t fantastic, there was a bit of wheelspin in there, some short shifting as well. the characteristics with the clutch weren’t fantastic. In Spa the car went into anti stall and he reacted massively quickly to it.
“We’ve done a lot of homework, managed to tidy a few things up and hopefully both drivers will have a good start this weekend.”