Sebastian Vettel plays down Red Bull's domination

By Sarah HoltBBC Sport at Suzuka

Sebastian Vettel has claimed that his Red Bull's performance is not the main reason for his domination this year.

The German, who is almost certain to win a second consecutive title in Japan this weekend, says the team had a bigger pace advantage in 2010.

"We have a less dominant car than (in) 2010 but as a team we worked much more together," the 24-year-old said.

"If the boat started shaking, we stayed on course and didn't lose focus. That made the difference."

Vettel's remarks will raise eyebrows in the context of his results this season compared to last, when Red Bull did make a series of driver and team errors that threatened to derail their title bid.

In qualifying, where cars perform to their ultimate pace, Red Bull have taken pole position at all 14 races so far, with Vettel claiming 11 and team-mate Mark Webber three.

By contrast, in 2010 Vettel took eight pole positions, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso taking two and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton one. Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber took five.

In terms of race wins, Vettel has taken nine so far this year, with McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Hamilton taking two each and Alonso one.

Last year, Vettel won five races on his way to the title - and three of them were in the four final events of the year. Alonso, who was second in the championship, also won five races.

Vettel will win the title in Japan on Sunday, with four races still to go, if either Button does not win or if Vettel scores a single point if the Englishman does cross the line first.

Vettel said that Red Bull had looked more dominant this season because they had ironed out the mistakes they were making last season.

"You have to know what to expect," he said. "We work very hard. The difference this year is not the car, it is more the operational side.

"The team is able to trust each other. It's one big group. It's not just one ingredient that makes the food taste good.

"Equally you cannot expect the same to happen next year. You have to build on what you have, be ready to accept mistakes and build on that.

"To judge an era you need to get to the end of it! We are on a good run, with a strong team, and we try to keep it strong for 2012."

Button is well aware of how much of a long shot the title is, and has set his sights on winning as many races as he can before the end of the season.

"It's great going into this race, Sebastian thinking that I have a chance of winning the title," Button said. He's probably the only person saying that's so!

"It's all but over. I think for Sebastian he doesn't want to think about it until after the race.

"I would love to win here. It would mean a lot to me to win here at Suzuka. That's our aim this weekend. Whether we are quick enough or not we will have to wait and see but we are in the hunt and I am looking forward to a fun weekend.

"I think on occasions we have been a par with the Red Bull. The last race we weren't quick enough to win."

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