A relaxed Sebastian Vettel on Thursday made light of any pressure on him to clinch his second drivers world title in this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old German said he and his Red Bull team were in no rush to take the championship – so long as he did so in the end.
“We are in a good position but still have some way to go,” he said. “We have to race and do our normal job – just try to achieve our best. Would, could, should… so far we haven’t won anything!”
Vettel, on 284 points, holds a 112 points lead ahead of nearest rival two-time champion and two-times Singapore winner Fernando Alonso of Ferrari in the title race.
If he wins Sunday’s 61-laps floodlit night race at the Marina Park circuit and Spaniard Alonso fails to finish on the podium, he will be the youngest double champion in Formula One history.
“It is one of the most difficult tracks for cars and drivers. It is a long way to the chequered flag,” he said.
“Obviously a lot of people talk about it, but certain things have to happen. It reminds me of the situation we faced in Abu Dhabi last year – where people came up every two or three minutes giving another option.
“What is possible out of 1,147 options?
“This could be one – but that is not the objective or target this weekend.
“The target is to optimise our performance. Generally our target going into this season was to defend the title.
“We are in a very good position and there is no reason the target should change. It doesn’t matter when – it only matters that it happens.”
The defending world champion said there was no added pressure on him to clinch the title in Singapore, but admitted he will go for it if he has the chance.
“I think there is always pressure on me, and us, because we want to achieve our best every single weekend and achieve our maximum,” he said.
“If there is a possibility or a chance to win, we want to go for it. I don’t feel any extra pressure trying to win the championship here or win it in one particular place.
“We just have to remind ourselves what the target was going into the season.
“It was not to win the championship in Singapore. It was to win the championship itself.”
Looking ahead to the race itself, he forecast a tight duel with McLaren and Ferrari for the Red Bull team.
“It will be a long weekend, a very long race,” he said.
“It is nearly two hours, longer than the other races we have during the season. Ferrari were competitive last year, we were equally matched, but couldn’t get past on the track. Hopefully this year is the other way around.
“On this circuit it’s hard to predict who is going to be competitive. I think we will be fighting McLaren and Ferrari, but Mercedes could have a good chance here. It is a circuit where the car is important, but the driver can make a difference.”
After two wins in a row in Belgium and Italy, Vettel would love to complete a hat-trick by delivering his ninth win of the year. If the title comes with it, few in the Red Bull team – or elsewhere – will be surprised.