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2011 as tough as 2012 - Vettel

ESPN Staff
December 8, 2012 « Red Bull is Renault's 'priority' in F1 | Champions receive FIA trophies »
Of his three titles, Sebastian Vettel's 2012 championship was won by the smallest margin © Press Association
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Sebastian Vettel said that his 2011 championship victory was as hard as his triumph in this year's drivers' title.

Last season Vettel won 11 races and only failed to make the podium at two grands prix as he wrapped up the championship at the 15th of 19 rounds. This year Vettel only secured the title by three points at the final race of the season, but despite enjoying such a dominant campaign in 2011, Vettel said that in both 2011 and 2012 he and Red Bull "had to work very, very hard" to win the championship.

"I'm not bothered by the fact that people look back to last year and say it was easy, because it wasn't," Vettel said. "And it wasn't straightforward - OK if you look at the results it was and the way we secured the championship was - but what I mean is that it wasn't always straightforward. We didn't go to the track expecting to win, and of course there was only the chance not to win because everything was so good. We had to work very, very hard for our success last year.

"This year obviously was closer with the other teams, especially more teams. So instead of finishing second, third or fourth you sometimes finished fifth, eighth, and if anything right now it allows you to look back and say every single point really matters and even the times when you're not competitive enough to win to make sure you score enough points."

Vettel admitted that the close nature of the season was more exciting from a driving point of view than racing alone at the front.

"Overall we had a very competitive car; we won the constructors' championship so Mark and myself scored more points than any other team. We secured that with a race to go, but surely I can see that there was more excitement; there was more excitement inside the car as well if you come from the back of the field and you have to overtake people."