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Vettel: Title hasn't changed my life too much 04 Mar 2011

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain,  Saturday, 12 February 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain,  Saturday, 19 February 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB7 makes a pit stop during a race simulation.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain,  Saturday, 19 February 2011 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing. Formula One Testing, Day 1, Barcelona, Spain, Friday 18 February 2011.

As Formula One racing’s youngest-ever world champion, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel would be forgiven for feeling a tiny bit pleased with himself as he targets a successful defence of his 2010 title this season. But a low-key Vettel is keen to dismiss any suggestion that having the number one plastered to his car will make any difference in 2011.

“It was good over winter to have a little bit of time to myself,” the 23 year-old German told Red Bull’s official website. “I spent it together with friends and family. We have started again with the new cars, preparing for the new season so after all I wouldn’t say life has changed too much.

“I don’t have an advantage by having the number one on the car. It’s a nice feeling. Last year was a great success and a big relief for me. So hopefully it will make me a bit stronger but nevertheless it will be a long, hard and tough season.”

Despite his ever-so-modest protestations, Vettel is already looking well placed to challenge for a second drivers' crown this season. The new RB7 is widely regarded as one of the strongest-looking cars during pre-season testing and Vettel himself topped the timesheets on two consecutive days at the last Barcelona test.

Vettel, however, is adamant it is still too early to draw any firm conclusions about the relative pace of the team's 2011 machine.

“We seem to have a good car but it’s still early - far too early to tell,” he explained. “So we have to wait and see. There have been a lot of changes, which involved a lot of work over the winter as we tried to get the whole package ready for the start of the season. It’s very busy now and we’re all trying to do our best to get the best possible packaging together.”

Vettel believes one possible bump in the road to a second title could be this year’s tyres. New official suppliers Pirelli have deliberately brought to the sport some far less hard-wearing compounds than those everyone had become used to during the Bridgestone era - a change which the Italian company - and Vettel - argue will boost excitement during Grands Prix.

“The tyres are very different to what they were last year,” he said. “But then again it’s the same for everybody. I think that we will see that racing will change. I think one stop is impossible at this stage, also maybe two stops. So I think it will be at least three or four stop races. I think it will make it all very interesting.”

Vettel will hit the test track again next week when the final pre-season session gets underway at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.

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