Sebastian Vettel made clear this week that despite his triumph in Bahrain last Sunday, he is taking nothing for granted in the title race.
Four races into the new F1 season, the defending double world champion and current leader conceded that neither he, nor his Red Bull team, were feeling confident of defending their titles. The 24-year-old German, who blitzed to his second drivers’ crown last year with a dominant early season run, taking 12 victories and 18 pole positions on his way, admitted things are not the same in 2012 as 2011.
“It is so tight now and we’re not feeling as confident as we used to feel,” said Vettel. “We need to do some work, to test things. I don’t feel happy with where we are now, but I do feel there is great potential in the car. So many small things can make a big difference, especially in qualifying, and also they can have a big impact in the race.”
Vettel’s win at the Sakhir circuit last Sunday was his first in four races this year. It is the first time in 29 years that the opening four events have produced four different drivers on the top of the podium, a factor created, many critics say, by the poor consistency and durability levels of the Pirelli tyres.
Vettel and Red Bull have been reluctant to be drawn into the argument over the tyres after an early season run that saw them take just one podium finish in the first three races before Bahrain – and saw Australian Mark Webber reel off four successive pole positions.
Grosjean confident of more points
Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean is confident that Lotus has the potential to win races this year and eventually championships, but has warned against expecting a title fight in 2012. Grosjean took his first podium since his return to the sport in the Bahrain Prix last weekend, finishing third while teammate Kimi Raikkonen challenged for the win.
“That’s my dream, I hope one day I will be world champion,” he told the Lotus
website. “It has to come step by step tough. First points, then podiums and then wins that lead to world championships. So now we have the podium step and hopefully the next step will be there for the win and maybe more.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.