Schumacher was more dominant, says Vettel

Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:02pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel has rejected comparisons between his current dominance with Red Bull and the days when Ferrari and Michael Schumacher had the sport in a stranglehold.

Vettel, who can win his fourth title in a row at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, has won the last four races after taking three pole positions in a row.

In Singapore last month, the 26-year-old German was some two seconds a lap quicker than his rivals.

Such a dominant display prompted Mercedes's Lewis Hamilton to suggest after last weekend's Korean Grand Prix that Vettel's success was sending some fans in Europe, who got up early to watch the Asian races, back to bed because they already knew who was going to win.

Hamilton later clarified his comments by hailing Vettel as a "great champion".

"Well, that's a compliment," Vettel, who was once nicknamed 'Baby Schumi', told reporters at Suzuka on Thursday after being told of the comparison to his compatriot and seven times champion.

However, he said Singapore was "a bit of an exception" and the Red Bull was nowhere near as dominant as the Ferrari had been when Schumacher won five titles in a row between 2000 and 2004.

"If you take Korea, which I think is more similar to Spa, the gap was something between three and six seconds for the whole race," said Vettel.   Continued...

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany waves to fans at the Suzuka circuit October 10, 2013, ahead of Sunday's Japanese F1 Grand Prix. REUTERS/Toru Hanai