Sebastian Vettel closes in on his third successive Formula One world title

 

Austin

Sebastian Vettel is hoping the highlight of his season is yet to come as he closes in on his third successive Formula One world title.

On the occasion of his 100th grand prix, Vettel can this weekend join legends Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as the only drivers to claim three championships in a row.

The 25-year-old Red Bull star needs to finish 15 points clear of nearest rival Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari on F1's return to the United States after a five-year absence.

The Circuit of The Americas, the purpose-built facility just outside Austin in Texas, stages the potential championship-decider, with just 10 points separating the duo.

A run of four consecutive victories, followed by a stunning drive from the pitlane to third in Abu Dhabi 10 days ago, has left Vettel within touching distance of another place in the F1 history books.

Before that, however, Vettel concedes to enduring "a rollercoaster ride", adding: "The only good news was that everybody had checked in on that ride.

"Sometimes we didn't get the results we deserved, others we did, but we weren't happy with them, so it has not been the easiest season.

"But we kept the belief from the very start and were never caught in a situation where we had to re-motivate ourselves to go out and fight for wins.

"Certainly, the fans have had the best Formula One for a long time - I personally would have loved it to be a little more boring at some stages.

"But when you think back some years ago, when you were in the lead and had only 10 laps to go you could have been pretty sure the race was yours.

"Today anything can happen until the moment you pass the chequered flag.

"The tyres keep results up in the air until the very last metres of the race.

"When you are in the hunt you still can turn it around, and when you are in the lead you can still lose it."

Vettel, after winning 11 races en route to his crushing title success last year, had to wait until the fourth race of this campaign for his opening victory, and then the 14th for his second, sparking his surge past Alonso.

Asked to select his highlight of the year to date, Vettel said: "I hope it is still to come.

"Maybe the first win of the season in Bahrain was a big relief, to know that everything is still functioning the way it used to.

"A highlight, for sure, was the win in Singapore, because I consider it physically the hardest race of the season, and, of course, the Abu Dhabi race.

"But as I said, I hope the best is still yet to come.

"No doubt we are in a very good position now and I hope we do well until the very end to make sure we deserve the glory."

It is hard to believe Vettel stands on the brink of his 100th race, his debut just five years ago in the US when he stood in for Robert Kubica in Indianapolis following the Pole's horrific smash a week previously in Canada.

"It's all gone so quickly," said Vettel on Formula One's official website.

"One hundred is a big number. One hundred grands prix sounds a lot - one hundred starts, one hundred times surviving the first corner.

"If I reflect on it, it doesn't feel so long ago I broke into Formula One.

"That shows me time flies when you do something you really like and enjoy. So let's focus on the second hundred!"

For now, the focus will be on learning yet another new track - the 10th to be unveiled in the last 14 years.

From what Vettel has seen so far, he is certainly anticipating a challenge, adding: "I have been in the simulator learning the Austin track, how it flows and getting a general feel for it.

"What we know from designer Hermann Tilke is that the hallmark of the circuit will be the big differences in altitude within a lap as the highest point is expected to be 40 metres higher than the lowest.

"The site has natural elevation changes, which promises a fast course with difficult corners for us to familiarise ourselves with."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup