Vettel plays down the fact that he still loves racing

<i>Image: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP</i>
<i>Image: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP</i>
ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

Sebastian Vettel in Singapore attempted to play down the firestorm around him by declaring: "I still love racing".

Some are sensationally claiming that the quadruple world champion will leave Ferrari, because his young teammate Charles Leclerc has gained the upper hand as 'number 1'.

"Number 1?  I don't have that feeling," 21-year-old Leclerc told Italian reporters on Thursday.

"People on the outside might see it differently, but we have equal opportunities.

"Seb and I complement each other well," he added.  "There have been races where I have helped him and races where he has supported me."

But Vettel's cool was tested at Monza when Leclerc apparently reneged on an agreement to give the German a slipstream in qualifying.

"It was a big mess," Leclerc admitted in Singapore.

"I certainly did not want to sacrifice Sebastian's lap.  I don't think my relationship with him is any different now.

"Sure, there were doubts after Monza qualifying, but I cleared them up."

But that's not Vettel's only worry.  After his Monza race spin and penalty, he is now within one more penalty of having to sit out a race with a Super Licence suspension.

"I don't remember a moment like this in my entire career, to be honest," the 32-year-old admitted in Singapore.  "But it's not like it's the worst moment either.

"I still love racing and I still have some time to go.  There are still many races to get better results, finish the season in the right way and prepare for the next one."

As for the prospect of a race ban, Vettel insisted: "You keep it in mind but it's not like I'm going to race with the handbrake on."

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