• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

'Speechless' Vettel overjoyed with title

ESPNF1 Staff
November 14, 2010 « Alonso reluctant to blame strategy | »
Sebastian Vettel soaks up the adulation on the podum © Getty Images

A delighted Sebastian Vettel confessed himself 'speechless' after sealing his first drivers' title by winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the style of a true champion.

"I am a bit speechless to be honest I don't know what to say at this moment but it has been an incredible season for myself and for all of us physically and mentally especially," said Vettel after winning the title. "To come here we have always kept believing in our team, the car, and so did I and today was a special day all around."

After starting from pole, all Vettel could do was win the race and hope that Fernando Alonso finished worse than sixth. And so it transpired after an early tyre change gamble backfired for the Spaniard, who was unable to break free from the longer running cars in the middle of the pack.

"This morning I got up and tried not to think about anything, tried to avoid contact to people too much and just try to do my own thing and I knew that the only thing I could do was try to win this race and do my best. We have only led this championship once and when it matters so I am speechless. As I said the car has been phenomenal today. The start was crucial and it was very tight with Lewis but then mega in the first stint, a little bit of graining and Lewis got a bit close but then the car stabilised and from then on. Obviously it helped and cooled us down when Lewis got out behind Kubica and got held up so I could make a gap but to be honest I didn't know anything until I crossed the chequered flag.

"For the last ten laps I was wondering because my race engineer was every lap trying to give some advice and trying to help me carry the car home and I was thinking 'why is this guy so nervous, we must be in a bloody good position'. And then crossing the line he came on the line very silently and said 'it's looking good, we have to wait until the cars finish,' and I was thinking 'what does he mean' because I hadn't seen the screens and I just wanted to make sure not to get any distractions and focus on myself. Then he comes on the radio and screams at me that we have won the world championship.'

"I have to say thanks to a lot of people, I will surely forget a lot of those but to start with the team all the guys here at the racetrack, all the mechanics in the team and the engineers. We have an extremely strong team working in harmony back in Milton Keynes, the guys are pushing like hell and I think they enjoy this moment as much as last week and back in Austria all the people that have been supporting me since the beginning. It has been an incredible journey with Red Bull and after this season's ups and downs to come here now and lead the championship after the last race is unbelievable and I can only say thanks."

Vettel also took time out to pay his respects to his championship rivals who helped make it one of the most exciting seasons in recent years.

"I think we have seen incredible fights and a tight season. I don't know how many times we had a different leader in this championship and some people got written off very early and they came back, meaning Fernando with Ferrari and they fought back very hard. McLaren came back, Lewis was leading the championship then obviously all of us can write a book about races where we should have finished in higher positions.

"Lewis had a retirement in Hungary, myself in Australia and in Korea and all of us had to go through ups and downs. It has been extremely intense and a tough season mentally to always be there and sometimes just being able to ignore what people are saying and trying to get your own thing done and this was the approach also in this race and now it is looking good because it worked and I am very proud."

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