Sebastian Vettel has played down any suggestion he has set as a career target his friend and mentor Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles and 91 wins.
At the weekend in Dusseldorf, the pair duly won their fifth consecutive ‘Nation’s Cup’ crown at the Race of Champions. But in the F1 world, although the current and back-to-back world champion, 24-year-old Vettel is still five championships and 70 victories short of even matching Schumacher’s all-time title records.
“Sure he can do it,” Schumacher, 43 next month, is quoted by the German magazine Sport Bild. “I’ve always said that records are there to be broken so why should I think differently about mine?”
Red Bull driver Vettel, however, said on Austrian television Servus TV on Monday: “What Michael achieved is so far away from what I have done. So you can’t set it as a goal.”
But so dominant was Vettel’s 2011 season that, when questioned, he could not recall how he celebrated his victory in Spain six months ago.
He disagreed about the details with his boss Christian Horner, laughing: “What we have here is a luxury problem!”
Another problem was his tendency, four times in 2011, to crash in Friday practice, but his other boss Dr Helmut Marko winked: “I have to say that, afterwards, he always won the race!”