Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
MOTORSPORT: Vettel denies Ferrari link
10:00am Monday 29th October 2012 in Sport
Sebastian Vettel has reassured his bosses at Red Bull that he has not signed a pre-contract agreement with Ferrari.
Vettel found himself put on the spot following his fourth consecutive victory – and his second in India that has lifted him 13 points clear of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in the fight for the Formula 1 world title.
Rumours have persisted for months, and been ramped up only recently, that Vettel will join Ferrari in 2014, even though his deal with Red Bull expires at the end of that year.
But with Alonso sat alongside him after the race, Vettel was pointedly asked whether there was any arrangement, agreement or talk between himself, his representatives and those at Ferrari about a move.
“No, there’s nothing, nothing to tell you, nothing I’ve signed, nothing has changed,” said Vettel.
“"I don’t know where it came from. I don’t read much, so it’s quite a surprise when you get to the circuit and get all these questions.
“Actually, there’s one thing I would like to say about this – you don’t know every single one in the team, and it’s hard to speak to every single one.
“So if there's some rubbish in the press, obviously there might be some concerns back in the factory.
“There’s nothing to report and I'm very happy at Red Bull Racing.”
That is unsurprising given the turnaround in Vettel’s season over the last four races, from the moment Lewis Hamilton retired with a gearbox failure on lap 23 of the Singapore Grand Prix.
From the 24th, Vettel has led every single lap since, a grand total of 204, a period of dominance matched by precious few in Formula 1 history.
Around the Buddh International Circuit, once the five red lights disappeared, not for a single moment did Vettel come under pressure.
However, he was wary when asked whether he felt he now had one hand on his third successive world championship.
“This was obviously another good step for us, but there is still a long way to go,” said Vettel.
Alonso did everything he could to stay within touching distance of Vettel, notably after a stunning first-lap battle with the McLaren duo of Hamilton and Jenson Button.
Starting from fifth, Alonso was up to third by the end of lap four, but had to wait until lap 45 and a KERS failure on Mark Webber’s Red Bull to claim second, his best result since winning in Germany in July.
Alonso said: “We lost points, but it was the best we could hope for this weekend.
McLaren got two cars home, with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button fourth and fifth Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, in their Enstone-prepared Lotus cars, were sixth and ninth.
Bruno Senna, driving a Grove-based Williams, made his one-stop strategy work, overtaking Nico Rosberg to finish in tenth position, while teammate Pastor Maldonado came 16th after a puncture caused by a collision.