Belfast Telegraph

Vettel geared up for early climax to four-in-a-row bid

By Ian Parkes

The entire Red Bull team are standing by to be blown away by Sebastian Vettel's latest Formula One world title triumph, according to team principal Christian Horner.

With a 77-point cushion over his nearest rival in Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Vettel could conceivably make it four in a row on Sunday in Suzuka, the scene of his 2011 championship success.

Should Vettel achieve the feat, either in Japan or the double header in India and Abu Dhabi that follows, the 26-year-old will become the youngest four-time winner in the sport's history.

Of the three other quadruple winners, Juan Manuel Fangio was 45 when he claimed his fourth crown, while Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher were 38 and 32 respectively.

"If we are to achieve it, then it would be massive," said Red Bull chief Horner.

"To win it the first time was special, to defend it was remarkable, and we never thought we could surpass the triple.

"If we get a fourth, it would be something the whole team would be blown away by. It would be phenomenal."

Naturally, the prospect of a fourth title is a tantalising one, not that Horner is allowing his mind to contemplate such a prospect.

"We have not allowed our thoughts to drift, we are not thinking about the championship. We have stayed in the moment and stayed focused," insisted Horner.

"If the moon and stars align and he wins the race and Fernando is ninth or below, then theoretically he can win the championship.

"But our approach in Suzuka will be the same as in our other races this year in that we will go there to get the best out of ourselves, and the championship will tend to take care of itself.

"So long as we win it, I don't care where we win it, but the chances of us winning it in Suzuka are low. When does Fernando Alonso ever not finish a race?

"He is driving supremely well at the moment, and with discipline. He is on a great run.

"So we are going to push to the end, right up to the chequered flag in Brazil (the final race).

"We cannot control what others do, we just need to push ourselves, which is what we will do."

Ironically, Alonso failed to finish last year's Japanese Grand Prix after suffering a first-lap accident, whilst Vettel went on to take the chequered flag – a scenario that would see the latter become champion again.

It was the German's third victory in four years at Suzuka.

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