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Vettel not looking too far ahead
Sebastian Vettel has admitted suffering from nerves as he closes in on his fourth consecutive Formula One world title.
Vettel took a giant stride to his four-in-a-row feat with victory in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix via a dominant drive in his Red Bull to open up a 46-point cushion over nearest rival Fernando Alonso.
With Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton 58 points behind and Kimi Raikkonen 63 off the pace after his Lotus suffered a brake failure to end his run of 38 consecutive finishes, the winning line is in sight for Vettel.
At this stage there is every likelihood Vettel will wrap things up early, as was the case in 2011 when he won his second title with three races to spare.
Not that the 26-year-old German is thinking of emulating 2011, though, as he feels far from comfortable.
"What I remember from 2011 is we had a fantastic season, but we were working very hard, step by step, race by race," he said.
"We were not working towards a certain race to seal the championship with a couple of races to go, and I wasn't relaxed at the time. I was as nervous as I am today.
"As I've said, it's about taking things step by step - not trying to be too smart, too clever and think too far ahead."
Vettel knows just as Raikkonen suffered a technical problem that has put him on the back foot, the same fate could also befall him - especially as the end of the season nears and the cars reach the end of their shelf-lives.
"I had a technical failure in Silverstone, we lost the race, and it hurts," Vettel said.
"We have so many races and all of us have this kind of thing happen.
"Surely the cars are - in terms of generation - at their end. It's not a completely new car compared to previous years, but still we are pushing.
"The cars are on the limit and we are still trying to get everything out of them. Things that are built on the limit can also break."
Team principal Christian Horner is also aware of how easily the title could slip through Vettel's fingers, highlighting what happened to Alonso last year.
The Spaniard held a 39-point lead following the Italian Grand Prix and with seven races to go, only to blow his bid for a third crown.
Suggested to Horner it was unthinkable Vettel could be overhauled, he replied: "Fernando managed to do it, so nothing is impossible.
"With 25 points for a victory, if you have a couple of DNFs (did not finish) and if somebody puts a run together, then you can be on the back foot again.
"We've obviously got ourselves in a strong position, but we'll take it one step at a time."