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Vettel says crash will sharpen focus

The German's afternoon session was slightly compromised by the shunt

india Updated: Oct 10, 2011 10:44 IST

Sebastian Vettel said his practice crash at the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday was a timely reminder to retain focus as he closes in his second consecutive world title this weekend.

The Red Bull driver finished third in both practice sessions at Japan's Suzuka track, but ended the morning practice a spectator after running wide at Turn 8 and hitting the wall at Turn 9 inside the final minute of the session.

While the damage to his car was minimal, Vettel said the slip was a reminder that he could not afford to "think about something else" for the rest of the weekend.

The German driver will enter Sunday's 53-lap race needing just one point, or a 10th-place finish, to secure back-to-back crowns and become the youngest two-time world champion in the sport's history.

Should he finish 11th or lower, Briton Jenson Button would have to win the race for McLaren to keep the title race alive heading into the Korean Grand Prix in two weeks' time.

"I think it was not really a big mistake. Maybe at that moment I was not 100 per cent awake, and mistakes around here can be quite costly," said Vettel.

"I went off and tried to slow the car down as much as possible, but didn't make it and hit the wall slightly. I had a good reminder not to start thinking about something else."

Vettel, who has won the past two Japanese Grands Prix from pole position, says the introduction of the Pirelli tyre into Formula One this season makes the cars feel different on the high-speed Suzuka layout.

"It is pretty tricky this year -- the cars generally are a bit more alive. When I stopped, I had the opportunity to watch some of the cars and for Suzuka you can see they are much more alive than they used to be."

The German said his afternoon session was slightly compromised by the shunt, but was happy with narrowing the gap to Button to 0.194 seconds as the McLaren driver set the pace in both sessions.

"I think we had a solid afternoon," Vettel said. "(The crash) wasn't a big impact, but it did some damage to the car. It's not perfect and it did affect our run plan a little bit."

First Published: Oct 10, 2011 10:39 IST