Despite not having put in more than a handful of laps, and in the face of an ever-present threat of smoke billowing from his RB10, little has changed for Sebastian Vettel. Not even the fact that the Mercedes team was the dominant force during the 12 days of winter testing appears to have altered his mindset with a view to the new season.
The four-time champion's thoughts are currently occupied with how Adrian Newey is going about fine-tuning his new machine and with keeping an eye on long-time rival, Fernando Alonso. When you consider what he has achieved over the past four years and the fact that, in two of them, the Spaniard had the chance to snatch the title away from him in the last race of the year, the respect shown when asked about his main competition for 2014 seems natural.
"He's one of the best drivers we have on the grid today and one of the best F1 has ever seen", Sebastian Vettel emphatically said. The German rated him as his number one rival, "also, and especially this year, because he is the kind of driver who always squeezes a hundred percent out of his car, even though it's not perfect", he said in an interview with 'Autobild'.
Interestingly, the German four-time world champion made specific reference to the 2014 season because of the demands the new regulations pose for the drivers.