GREATER NOIDA, India (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel may look like Justin Bieber, and there are plenty of websites offering photo comparisons of the two, but Red Bull’s Formula One world champion is clearly not a ‘Belieber’.
The 26-year-old German stressed, after taking pole position on Saturday for an Indian Grand Prix that should secure him a fourth successive title, that the Canadian teen pop sensation would not be featuring on his pre-race playlist.
“It’s music, yes, but it’s more like melodies. No singing. So no Justin Bieber,” Vettel told reporters when asked what he listened to before qualifying and the race to get properly psyched up.
“I think that was on your iPod,” he added, looking at compatriot Nico Rosberg - whose youthful blond locks earned him the paddock nickname years ago of ‘Britney’ after U.S. singer Britney Spears.
“In the end, it’s not a secret, it’s just music that gets me or tries to get me in the zone so that I hopefully get the best out of myself.”
Rosberg, who qualified second for Mercedes, had mischievously brought Bieber into the conversation by suggesting, before Vettel could reply to the reporter’s question: “Didn’t you say Justin Bieber last time? No?”.
Lookalike fans had a field day in Singapore when Bieber, who has appeared in racing overalls in the past, held a concert the day after Vettel’s victory there.
Vettel has won both of the previous two Indian Grands Prix and need finish only fifth to clinch the title with four races to spare.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is the only man who can keep him waiting and the Spaniard is 90 points adrift and must finish in the top two to have any hope.
As far as the Formula One paddock, and bookmakers, are concerned, Sunday’s outcome is a foregone conclusion but Vettel said he was still trying to put it to the back of his mind as if it were a distraction like any other.
“I’m trying not to think about it. Obviously it’s difficult when every second person in the paddock asks you the same question,” he grinned.
“But I think we’ve done pretty well in the past, focusing on every single step and I don’t see a reason why to change things for tomorrow or the next couple of races.”
Asked how he felt on the eve of clinching the title, and how that compared to the last three years, the German said not much had changed.
“In 2011, you could say that it was more relaxed. Obviously 2010 and 2012 was a different situation but at the end of the day there’s no secret, no secret preparation,” he said.
“I think we all have a certain routine we go through before a race but also the night before. I don’t think I did anything special the last three times, not that I can remember...
“I was basically trying to focus on the race and in a way, trying to ignore the fact that it could be the decisive race,” added Vettel.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer