Vettel aiming for a seventh straight win in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) - Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull have yet to fully celebrate their fourth successive drivers' and constructors' championships. There's still more things for them to accomplish this season.
At age 26, Vettel became the youngest driver in F1 history to clinch four straight titles. The German did so with a convincing win in last Sunday's Indian Grand Prix. His victory there also allowed Red Bull to wrap up this year's constructors' championship.
There are three races remaining, beginning with this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
"It was a great relief when I crossed the line on Sunday, a great feeling," Vettel said. "Sunday night, the whole team still had to do the pack-up, but we had a little bit of fun in the hotel bar - quite spontaneous. There's not a lot of time between the race in India and the race here, so the team is very busy. I had two days at home before coming here, again fairly quiet, not very spectacular. I just enjoyed the peace at home. I had some time for myself, back with my girlfriend as well."
Vettel is now chasing another F1 record -- most consecutive victories. India marked his sixth straight win. Michael Schumacher (2004) and Jim Clark (1965) are those drivers who scored seven straight grand prix victories. Alberto Ascari holds the record for most consecutive wins with nine, doing so from the tail end of the 1952 season through the early part of the 1953 season.
This will be the fifth time F1 competes in Abu Dhabi. Vettel won the inaugural race in 2009 and then scored another victory here the following year.
In 2011, Vettel had his lone retirement of the season at Abu Dhabi, where he experienced a tire puncture that caused damage to his car on the opening lap. One year ago, he had to start from the back of the grid but made an amazing comeback to finish third. Vettel had qualified third, but race stewards later disqualified him when they determined there wasn't enough fuel in his car to provide a one-liter sample in post-qualifying scrutineering, as required by the sport's technical regulations.
"I'm not getting in the car and thinking that there's a guarantee that we will do well," he said. "Since the summer break, we've won all the races but we come here and there's absolutely no guarantee that we will do well, so we have to give it everything we have. Yes, we have a strong package, so I think we have reason to be confident."
After Abu Dhabi, F1 heads to Austin, Texas (Nov. 17) and then concludes its season in Sao Paulo, Brazil (Nov. 24).
The Abu Dhabi GP, which starts late in the afternoon and concludes at twilight, is one of the most popular races on the F1 calendar. The 3.451-mile Yas Marina Circuit features nine right turns and 12 left turns. It's one of the few circuits on the current schedule that runs in an anti-clockwise direction.
"Abu Dhabi is one of the highlights of the racing calendar," Vettel said. "Starting at dusk and finishing in the dark makes it pretty impressive. I have special memories of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after winning the first race here in 2009 and then repeating the victory in 2010 to win my first world championship. That was an event I will never forget."
Kimi Raikkonen won last year's Abu Dhabi GP. Raikkonen, the 2007 F1 titleholder, scored his first win in three years. He left Ferrari at the end of the '09 season and then competed in the World Rally Championship as well as a handful of NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races for the next two years before joining Lotus for the 2012 season. He gave Lotus its first victory in the sport since the 1987 United States Grand Prix in Detroit.
Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, Nov. 3. Race: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Site: Yas Marina Circuit. Track: 3.451-mile (5.554-kilometer), 21-turn road course. Start Time: 8 a.m. ET. Laps: 55. Miles: 189.738 (305.355 km). 2012 Winner: Kimi Raikkonen. Television: NBC Sports Network.
11/01 11:20:49 ET