Sebastian Vettel made his emotions clear by performing donuts in front of the grandstand after his victory in the Indian GP finally confirmed him as World Champion for the fourth time.
Vettel joins Alain Prost, Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher in the elite group of drivers who have won four or more titles, and only the latter pair have won four in a row.
After his win he spoke at length about his feelings.
“I want to say a big thank you to the team, to all the people that were behind us,” he said. “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, the last couple of races. But I think it was a difficult one, all in all. 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.
“I think the spirit in the team is fantastic and to go for numbers and statistics that we have done in the last four years is unbelievable. I don’t feel old – I’m getting older but I think I’m not that old yet and to achieve that in such a short amount of time is very difficult to grasp. Maybe in ten years’ time.
“It was a difficult emotion to cross the line and to feel happy all of a sudden because you’re in a rhythm, you know what you’re doing, you have a certain routine. Yes, I was very nervous before the race but I am all the time, I am nervous, usually the last hour of my sleep from Saturday to Sunday is quite poor because I’m looking forward to the race, I’m having all sorts of scenarios in my head.
“I think it takes time to understand what happened but I think it is also a special place to win at and yeah, when my engineer called for the usual procedure – parc ferme, park the car – I said to myself I don’t care, I go there, the crowd was great in the main grandstand and I’ll have some fun there which I enjoyed a lot.”
Vettel made some interesting comments about the booing he faced at Monza and elsewhere.
“I don’t blame people. They boo because they are Ferrari fans. At the time it hurts, as I said, not to get the reception that you expect but at the same time, I think I’m clever enough to understand why they do it. I’m not blaming them. Maybe if I would be a fan of McLaren, Ferrari, whatever, one of the traditional teams, I wouldn’t like it if the same kind of guys, same team wins again and again. I think the most important thing for me is to get the respect from people that I know and people that I race against. I feel respected amongst the drivers. Sure you have to fight to get that respect when you come in but I’m not blaming the fans.
“It’s very difficult for the fans, to be honest, to understand what’s going on behind the scenes because they get a little of an idea of who we are but it’s impossible for everyone to introduce yourself and to explain what kind of guy you are.
“But then again, it’s nice to give a little bit back to people you meet, at the hotel, at the track, outside of the track, maybe when you’re shopping, people that recognize you. Therefore, I think it’s important that you get the respect from people that you really know. Others, I think, will always struggle, there will always be pros and cons, speaking for and against you.”