MILTON KEYNES, England (Reuters) - Triple Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel is ready to put the hammer down after spending his winter break catching up on handywork around the house.
Asked what he had been up to since the end of last season, the 25-year-old Red Bull driver said at Sunday’s launch of the new RB9 racing car that he had been doing some odd jobs at home in Switzerland.
“I was mostly at home...It was important for me to just enjoy home and the things that are waiting there. Some DIY (do it yourself) and stuff you had no time during the season to fix,” said the German.
“I enjoyed being in my own bed, doing my own breakfast rather than sleeping in an hotel and having the buffet,” he added with a smile.
“You always want what you don’t have so usually when we are travelling a lot and sleeping in hotels you are really looking forward to coming back and sleeping in your own bed.”
Vettel did not go into details about his ‘DIY’, saying it was just “some stuff that keeps lying around for the whole year”.
However the sneaking suspicion was that it might have involved work on extending his trophy cabinet.
The triple champion is now the winner of 26 grands prix, 25 with Red Bull and one with Toro Rosso, and said last March - before he had added another five race wins to his tally - that he was running out of shelf space at home to keep all his trophies.
The German also told reporters then that he liked to have the championship trophy on his kitchen table, with others in the living room, but he was intending to create a proper place to put them.
Vettel should have plenty more coming along in the pipeline, with the season starting on March 17 in Australia and Red Bull again the team to beat.
The champion said he was ready now to “put the hammer down” (to go flat out) on the race track as well.
“It’s one thing to do all the talking now but as soon as you have the hammer down, you want to perform and do your best,” he said with a grin.
Vettel has given female names to all his racing cars - from ‘Kate’, on to ‘Kate’s Dirty Sister’, ‘Luscious Liz’, ‘Randy Mandy’, ‘Kinky Kylie’ and last year’s ‘Abbey’ - but he gave no hint about the RB9.
“It surely will take some time,” he said. “First we need to get to know each other.”
He said he would sit down with his mechanics in the week before the Australian season-opener and think about various options.
There is a lot of serious work to do in the meantime and Vetttel recognised that it was likely to be a hard season ahead, with the regulations very similar to last year and teams possibly closer than ever.
”It all starts again from zero,“ he said. ”It will be tough to beat (team mate) Mark (Webber), tough to beat the other guys and other teams because they will try everything to beat us.
“Obviously the last three years have been very good for us and we managed to beat them but there is no guarantee or nothing that helps us to keep on winning or doing a good job.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis