SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel laughed off the boos after turning the Singapore Grand Prix into a cruise on Sunday.
Red Bull’s runaway Formula One leader sped ever closer to a fourth successive title with his seventh win of the season but, for the third race in a row, heard booing from the crowd as he stood on the podium.
In Belgium, fans voiced their displeasure as Greenpeace activists tried to hijack the podium ceremony. At Monza in Italy two weeks ago, the red-clad Ferrari ‘tifosi’ were upset that their man Fernando Alonso had not won.
“They seem to be on a tour,” joked Vettel, who led from pole to chequered flag to stretch his lead over Alonso to 60 points, after boos again mixed with cheers under the Singapore floodlights during a podium interview.
In fairness, it might also have been to do with the German and his team making the championship so one-sided with another dominant display and third win in a row but he clearly did not see it that way.
“It’s not nice but I think if you look around the grandstands, there are a lot of fans dressed in red as Ferrari have a strong tradition in the sport and have been more successful than any other team,” he added.
“But I have started to notice more and more people dressed in blue (Red Bull colors) so we are doing a good job of it on that front.
“They are quite emotional when they are not winning and they don’t like it as it costs a lot of money to follow the sport... in Monza or taking flights here to Singapore. As long as they keep on booing then we are doing a good job.”
Before hearing the boos, Vettel was able to enjoy the sweet smell of victory for a seventh time this season after he controlled the race, as usual, from the front of the grid with a performance he felt was down to the brilliance of his team.
“It was not easy to get everything right over the whole weekend but I am extremely happy though and the whole team can be extremely proud knowing how much work is going in,” added Vettel.
“Here we have a funny rhythm, the mechanics stay up all night until the curfew kicks in, checking everything on the cars.
“There’s a lot of team effort going in so if we have results like we did today, where we have the luxury to control the race at some stage, it is because of those late hours and the commitment that goes in from everybody.”
At the start, Vettel was challenged by fellow front-row sitter Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes but was able to stave off his compatriot before opening a gap he could control to the finish despite being hampered midway through the race by a safety car period.
“I thought I reacted pretty well but was a bit lazy to get off the line.” he said.
“We were side by side so I had to give him room and fortunately he was braking quite deep into turn one and I was able to get back on the inside into position.
“The next corner was a left hander and I was able to get in front and from there we had very strong pace.”
Editing by Alan Baldwin