Sebastian Vettel in rare mistake as Jenson Button tops timesheets

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The Independent Online

Sebastian Vettel feels his first practice accident at Suzuka today served as a wake-up call to avoid thinking of his impending world title triumph.

Vettel committed a rare error in what has been an exemplary season when he lost concentration approaching the famous Degner Curves.

Requiring just a point from Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix to become the youngest back-to-back and double world champion in F1 history, the unforgiving track bit the 24-year-old hard.

Late on the brakes turning into the first of the two Degner right- handed turns, Vettel ran wide onto the Astroturf and then into the gravel where he ground to a halt, nudging the nose of his Red Bull gently against a tyre barrier.

"I had a good reminder in practice not to start thinking about something else," said Vettel.

"It was not really a big mistake, but maybe at that moment I was not 100% awake, and mistakes around here can be quite costly.

"I went off and tried to come back, tried to slow the car down as much as possible, but didn't make it and hit the wall slightly.

"It was not a big impact, but it did do some damage to the car."

Vettel, who finished third on the timesheet behind Jenson Button, the only man who can deprive him of the title, added: "Overall, it wasn't perfect and it did affect our run plan a little bit.

"It is pretty tricky this year on the (Pirelli) tyres. The cars are generally are a bit more alive.

"So when I stopped I had the opportunity to watch some of the cars and for Suzuka you can see they are much more alive than they used to be. On Sunday it will be quite interesting."