More F1 records beckon Vettel


Sebastian Vettel can chase records after clinching a fourth world title last weekend while there is still plenty at stake for “the best of the rest” in the three remaining races of the Formula One season.


Red Bull’s Vettel can equal Michael Schumacher’s record seven straight season victories on Sunday in the day-to-night Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Schumacher’s 13 overall season wins are also still in his sights.

Vettel won the debut race on the 5.554km Yas Marina course in 2009 and his repeat success a year later gave him a first world title.

Lewis Hamilton topped the 2011 podium and Kimi Raikkonen uttered the famous words “leave me alone, I know what I am doing” via team radio in 2012, en route to his first win since his comeback.

Vettel arrived in Abu Dhabi from two days off with his girlfriend at their home in Switzerland, during which he also relaxed by mowing the lawn, and said he has no motivation problem after taking the title.

“We are here to race and to win if we get the chance,” Vettel said on Thursday.

Raikkonen and Hamilton are among those for whom and their teams there is still plenty at stake.

Raikkonen is just 24 points behind second-placed Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, and fourth-placed Mercedes man Hamilton also still eyes a place on the final podium, another 14 points adrift and 75 still up for grabs. Red Bull’s Marc Webber and Nico Rosberg also have a mathematical chance.

Rosberg spoke of “the best of the rest” last Sunday after Vettel wrapped up the title in India, and Mercedes would love to keep second place in the constructors’ list behind quadruple champions Red Bull.

Mercedes moved four points ahead of Ferrari in India, and the Lotus team of Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean is only another 16 points behind.

Ferrari are desperate to at least get second place in both rankings after failing yet again to earn a first drivers’ title since Raikkonen triumphed in 2007 during his first term at the Scuderia, as he will return to partner Alonso next year.

Alonso was 11th in India and has never won in Abu Dhabi, but will have enough pride to aim and keep second place in the drivers’ list.

Team-mate Felipe Massa finished ahead of him in fourth place Sunday for some Ferrari damage control although they have now missed the podium in the last three races.

“It’s important to try and end this season in the best way possible,” team principal Stefano Domenicali said.

“These are crucial weeks that we have ahead of us to the end of the year, because the work we are doing in preparation for 2014 is vital if we want to be the team that puts an end to this Red Bull dominance, just as we and Fernando have been their main rivals over the past four seasons.”

But Hamilton and Rosberg, who came second in India, are ready ready to defend their current runner-up spot.

“We’re up for the challenge!” Hamilton said. “We are still pushing and there is a lot that our team can achieve in that period. It’s all about consistency now and making sure that both Nico and I score good points so that we can keep the other teams behind us,” the Briton said.

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