In Brief

F1 in focus: Vettel has ‘absolute belief’ he can be world champion in 2019

German’s Ferrari team-mate Leclerc is not obsessed with winning first race

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel may be sitting fourth in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship but the German remains confident of winning the 2019 title.

After the opening three races of the season reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton leads the drivers’ standings with 68 points.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas is second on 62 points and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is third with 39. The Ferrari duo of Vettel and Charles Leclerc are fourth and fifth with 37 and 36 points respectively.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Vettel says there is no pressure to win in Baku. Planet F1 reports that he has rubbished suggestions his season will be over if he doesn’t take the chequered flag on Sunday.

Quoted by Sky Sports, four-time title winner Vettel said: “I have the absolute belief that I can be world champion. I know some people like to put it that this is the decider, but we have a lot of races left.

“Hopefully at one point we can look back and say this was the decider or the decisive moment but right now I don’t know and I don’t really care.

“We want to win, but that’s for any race we go to. I think we have a very strong package and I’m confident if we can get it in the right place then we should be able to show that and give the others a very, very hard time.

“I’m not thinking that it all depends on one single moment.”

Leclerc not obsessed with first win

Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Charles Lerclerc has come close to securing his maiden F1 grand prix victory but the 21-year-old says he is not obsessed with achieving the feat.

Leclerc, who missed out on victory in Bahrain, told Formula1.com: “[Winning my first race is] not an obsession. My obsession at the moment is to do the best job I can in the car and extract the full potential of it and then I am sure the results will come.

“Obviously I am impassioned for this moment to happen, if it will ever happen, and I will work for that. But I am not obsessed with it and I don’t think it would be a good way to approach the weekend, only thinking about the win. I am just obsessed with extracting the best from the car.”

Baku race guide

Sunday’s F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix starts at 1.10pm (UK time). See our race guide for the Baku weekend schedule and predictions.

F1 news headlines

What the media is writing about today in the world of Formula 1.

  • Lewis Hamilton: ‘I can see myself’ in Charles Leclerc (BBC Sport
  • Lewis Hamilton on ‘emotional’ Tiger Woods’ Masters major triumph (Sky Sports
  • Hamilton wary of Ferrari and Red Bull upgrades in Baku (Formula1.com
  • Norris rates his debut ‘six out of 10’ (Planet F1
  • Raikkonen: Unfair to judge Giovinazzi yet (Autosport
  • Vettel: Red Bull are contenders (GPFans.com)

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