x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Vettel wants to win Formula One drivers' title in style

The German can clinch crown in Singapore on Sunday if results go his way and he does not plan to change his way of racing with the goal so close.

Sebastian Vettelwill seek to become the youngest man to successfully defend a world title when he bids for his ninth win of the year in this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old German will also be aiming to complete a hat-trick of wins for Red Bull, following successes in Belgium and Italy, by triumphing on the floodlit streets of the Marina Bay circuit in Sunday night's race.

Vettel, who has 284 points, holds a lead of 112 on his nearest rival Fernando Alonso, the two-time champion. To take the title on Sunday, he needs to enlarge that lead to 125 or more ahead of the final five races.

This means a win will only be enough for Vettel if Alonso fails to deliver a podium finish for Ferrari - a target that he has hit seven times this season. Briton Jenson Button of McLaren and Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber of Australia are currently level on 167 points, a further five adrift of Alonso.

Vettel could win the title by taking a cautious approach to the final six races starting this weekend, accumulating points without taking risks. However, according to Adrian Newey, his team's technical chief, that is not his style.

"Sebastian doesn't want to cruise to the world championship. He really wants to earn it. That's what you saw at Monza [Italy]," he said, referring to the champion's bold passing move on Alonso to take the lead during the fifth lap of the race.

"And what's so impressive about him is that he very rarely makes the same mistake twice. He keeps confounding the critics. Last year, people were saying he's great if he gets out in the lead, but can't overtake people. People won't be saying that after the last few races."

A determined Alonso has made it clear that he hopes to postpone any Red Bull championship celebrations for at least one more weekend.

The McLaren pair of Button and compatriot Lewis Hamilton, who won the Singapore race two years ago, will also be in strong contention. Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren team chief, has forecast an "electrifying" race due to the drivers' use of the Drag Reduction System on the long straight between turns five and seven.

Last year, Alonso was able to hold off the faster Vettel on his way to victory, but Whitmarsh believes that scenario will not be repeated.

"The track is wide enough to support close and exciting wheel-to-wheel racing and I sincerely hope that's what we see," he said.