F1 break gives Vet­tel space

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

BU­DAPEST: Se­bas­tian Vet­tel will en­joy For­mula One’s Au­gust break as cham­pi­onship leader but the Fer­rari driver knows the job is only half done and it will not get any eas­ier in the months ahead.

The Ger­man, a four-times world cham­pion with Red Bull, is un­likely to spend the va­ca­tion fret­ting about his fu­ture, how­ever.

Out of con­tract at the end of the sea­son, Vet­tel’s com­ments af­ter win­ning in Hun­gary did not sound like those of a man ex­pect­ing any­thing other than a con­tin­ued spell at Maranello.

Re­ports in Italy have al­ready sug­gested that Fer­rari will con­firm both Vet­tel and Fin­nish team­mate Kimi Raikko­nen at their home Ital­ian Grand Prix next month.

Vet­tel has now won four of 11 races this sea­son, mak­ing this year his best sea­son with Fer­rari, and has led the cham­pi­onship from day one in Aus­tralia. He is 14 points clear of Lewis Hamil­ton, who shared the lead with him briefly af­ter China in April but gifted Vet­tel three ex­tra points on Sun­day by hand­ing back third place to his Mercedes team­mate Valt­teri Bot­tas.

Vet­tel does not have to worry about such dis­plays of sports­man­ship, the 30-yearold is a clear num­ber one at Fer­rari, and can be sin­gle­minded about the re­main­ing nine rounds.

“It’s what I dream about, to be hon­est. I want to win, so that’s where you want to be,” he told re­porters when asked whether the sea­son so far had been more than he could have dreamed of af­ter a bar­ren 2016.

“The mis­sion has been to get back to the top, so ob­vi­ously we had a great year,” he added.

“Over the win­ter I think we were the team that made the least noise ... I was very happy that we just worked, we just kept to our­selves and did the job. We have a great car.”

Hun­gary, a slow cir­cuit like Monaco where Fer­rari also ex­celled, is very dif­fer­ent from the next two high-speed races – Spa in Bel­gium and the flat out blast of Italy’s Monza cir­cuit.

Mercedes dom­i­nated in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances at Sil­ver­stone, where Hamil­ton savoured a home win, and the Bri­ton can hope to level the points tally by the end of the first week of Septem­ber.

He too will go away to recharge for the bat­tle ahead, ready to deny Vet­tel a fifth ti­tle and se­cure his own fourth.

“I def­i­nitely think it’s come at a good time,” he said of the break. “It’s def­i­nitely been a dif­fi­cult sea­son up to now.

“This break will be re­ally good for ev­ery­one to recharge and come back fresh. I truly be­lieve we have the ca­pa­bil­ity of win­ning this cham­pi­onship.

“But it’s go­ing to take ab­so­lutely 100 per­cent of ev­ery­one’s ef­fort to pull it off.” – Reuters

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