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Relentless Vettel seeking more victories

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany listens to a question during a news conference at the paddock ahead of the Singapore
Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany listens to a question during a news conference at the paddock ahead of the Singapore

By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel made no apologies to 'tired fans' for Red Bull's dominant displays that have left the German close to a fourth consecutive drivers title.

Vettel, 53 points clear of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso at the top of the drivers standings with seven races remaining, is hot favorite to extend his lead by winning Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix, where he has taken the chequered flag the last two years.

The 26-year-old German has also won the last two races this season in Belgium and Italy with the thoughts of many rival teams already turning to 2014 where a raft of technical changes are hoped will even the playing field.

"For sure there are people who are tired of Red Bull winning but we are not and we know that there is no guarantee," Vettel told reporters on Thursday at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

"We arrive here, we know we have a strong package but we have to work hard to be in the front to finish in a good position on the podium or if a win is up for grabs.

"I didn't know it was 53 (points). I knew it was more than before Monza but yeah I'm not trying to get carried away with the gap."

Last year, a victory in Singapore was the catalyst for Vettel overturning a 39-point deficit in the championship to Alonso as he went on to take the title.

The happy memories and the softening of the treacherous turn 10 chicane known as the 'Singapore Sling' which the German had been very critical of in the past make the race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit one that Vettel was looking forward to.

"I want to win, I love this track, it is a love-hate relationship in a way because I love the challenge but equally you know its hard work, for sure you need to get everything right," he said with a smile.

"Qualifying is very important, as it usually is on a street circuit, the race is a marathon waiting for you but its a nice challenge you know.

"They have changed one corner on the track so there is a little bit of new detail this year and you know how tough it is when you try to prepare... this is one of the most physical races we have in the season and hopefully I'm well prepared."

Vettel's victory last year was helped by the retirement of pole sitter Lewis Hamilton, the Briton forced out while leading the race.

Vettel, who has also won in Malaysia, Bahrain, Canada and Germany this season, said he expected a tough challenge from the Briton again as well as his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg.

"I think Mercedes will be strong, Monza I don't know what happened but it was a surprise to see that Mercedes was a little bit behind, we didn't mind," Vettel said with a grin.

"Plus I think Lewis and Nico are quite strong on street circuits. Lewis was very competitive here last year, fighting for the grand prix before he retired and Nico won Monaco this year so they will be up there this year.

"I want to win here, I want to focus on the race and I want to enjoy the fact that it is the only night race we have. Its different here, we haven't been here a long time but it feels like a classic already."

(Editing by Alison Wildey)

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