Exclusive Interview with F1 Champ Sebastian Vettel

Vettel on winning the 2013 F1 championship, dealing with the boos and joining the four title club.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel © Clive Mason/Getty Images
By Justin Hynes

We sit down with Sebastian Vettel, the winner of the 2013 F1 season and now four-time world champion.

RedBull.com: Congratulations on your fourth title! When you got out of the car, you knelt on the track and bowed to it. Was this victory different than others?

Sebastian Vettel: It’s pretty special. I wanted to say a big thank you to the team, to all the people that were behind us. For sure it was not an easy season, even if people from the outside get the idea that we had it in our hands for quite a while.

It was a very difficult one for me personally. To receive boos, even though you haven’t done anything wrong, to overcome that and to give the right answer on the track and finally get the acceptance that I think we’re all looking for as racing drivers… it makes me very proud to join people like Prost, Fangio and Michael, it's unbelievable.

Bowing was just an appreciation [of the team’s] work. It’s a team effort at the end of the day.

There were a few tears before the podium ceremony. Was this title win particularly emotional?

It was a difficult emotion to cross the line and feel happy all of a sudden because you’re in a rhythm, you know what you’re doing, you have a certain routine. I think it will take time to understand what happened.

A league of his own
A league of his own © Mark Thompson/Getty Images

You mentioned the boos you received at certain points during the season. Does this feel like the best response?

To be honest, I don’t blame the people that booed. If I go to the football stadium, I cheer for the home team. The moment the away team score a goal, the guy who scored a goal… you don’t appreciate him for being an amazing player!

After Singapore I actually had one guy apologize because he was in the crowd and was booing. But we are all fans of the sport and if some people have a passion for Ferrari, they don’t like it if somebody else wins. But I’m not... I don’t know the word, nachtragend [resentful].

You join an illustrious list of just three other winners of four titles. How does that feel?

It’s very difficult to understand. Fangio scored five titles, everybody appreciated him as the best driver in the world. Then Michael came along later. Yes, he had a very dominant car but he created that at Ferrari. It’s incredible that one guy managed to actually score more championships than Fangio.

To join people like Michael, Fangio, Prost is very difficult to put into perspective. I’m way too young to understand what it means. I might be 60 one day, maybe then I will understand but nobody will care any more. I will though.

Vettel on the top step
Vettel on the top step © Clive Mason/Getty Images

Before coming in here, you were on the phone.

With my parents and brother. They said congratulations. I said that I loved them very much, thank you. There have been a lot of people supporting me and for sure my family played a huge role.

There are still three races left but are you already look forward to 2014? New rules, new cars…

I think teams like Mercedes, Ferrari spend a lot of time thinking of new ideas. It’s a new car, it’s a new engine so it will be an incredibly big challenge. We already start testing in January. I think this year’s winter will be shorter than most.

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