Formula One: Critics got me over the line, says Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel believes his positive response to mid-season criticism was vital to him becoming Formula One's youngest world champion.
The German Red Bull driver found himself in the firing line after the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa when a bungled overtaking manoeuvre on Jenson Button culminated in the 23-year-old spearing into the side of Button's McLaren.
The criticism that followed was particularly ferocious and it seemed at that stage Vettel was still too young and too raw to put together a season good enough to earn him the F1 drivers' title.
That incident was the beginning of the end for Button's title hopes but for Vettel, however, it forced him to seek out those he could trust for support and guidance believing he would be able to repay them at some point.
So it proved with Sunday's victory in Abu Dhabi, bringing with it the ultimate prize in motor sport. “Coming into the year I had a clear goal, to win the championship, and I was very focused on that,” said Vettel.
“Maybe mid-season, I became a bit tense as it wasn't always easy to come back after the way some of the things had gone and the way some races had developed.
“After what happened in Spa I got a lot of bad press in particular.
“It wasn't easy at that time, with a lot of people saying bad things and trying to knock us down. But that's when you realise who your friends are, who belongs to you and who is supporting you.
“Sometimes things don't go your way, but in the long term there's something called justice.
“That is what has happened, at least in my calculation, and it has turned out to be right. Sometimes it goes that way.”