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Sebastian Vettel has revealed that he never gave any serious thought to Ferrari's bid for an investigation into the yellow flag incident that might have seen him stripped of the title.
"To be honest, I never wasted one single thought that an irregularity was involved from my side," he told the official F1 website. "Even if it was an eventful race I definitely saw all the flags - and their colours!
"I only got information that Ferrari was up to something after Christian called me saying that obviously Ferrari was not too happy with the outcome of the race," he revealed. "After the FIA had checked every single inch of the recording of the situation in question - and confirmed that everything was according to rules - Ferrari renounced any protests. But believe it or not I knew since the chequered flag that there was not a single movement wrong from my side."
Asked what went through his head at Interlagos as he secured his third successive title, thereby becoming the youngest driver to win three crowns, he said: "I remember that I had difficulties finding the right words. Such a moment takes some time to sink in. It was such a crazy race with unforeseen situations looming almost around every corner - you could rightfully use the word chaotic - and that it ended for us the way it did was due to the fact that we never lost sight of the bigger picture.
"You start to understand how many small steps it takes to achieve such a result," he continued, "steps that, when they happen, probably have no big significance for you in that very moment, but that can have quite an impact on the final result. I think that 2012 - and especially that Brazilian race - has taught us that success lies in the detail.
"The moment I crossed the finish line I was very quiet - somewhat empty," he admitted. "I guess that's what happens when a huge burden comes off your chest. All year long we've been so focused on that one and only goal - and then suddenly you have reached it. That makes you quiet - and probably a bit helpless - for a short instant. Then after two weeks you start to exhale and pick up your life where you left it many months ago."
Asked about the championship trophy itself, the German said: "I had to give it back in October to give it an overhaul - and that was not an easy farewell! Of course you hope that it will return to you, but you also understand when you read all the engraved names on it that it has a very distinct life of its own. Now it is back in my kitchen, on the kitchen table, to prod me to go out and fight for it in 2013.
"Every time I sit at the table I turn it around to read all the names on it - it's almost a mystic procedure. And to see that the last three engravings are your own name - that moves deeply."
When asked how he will run his 2013 campaign, whether he will be more relaxed or will retain his killer instinct, the reply is immediate: "Killer instinct? That's not me. I know that I have a special position in the team - yes - but I definitely do consider myself as a team member. As a team member I want us to be as successful in 2013 as we have been this year and the two previous years. And personally, I never had to simulate motivation - that is part of my nature.
"Sure, right now it is nice to savour the title win and everything that goes with it, but what stays in your memory much more than anything else are the steps that got you there: the nervousness on the grid at the first race, the stress when it didn't work out as planned, the podiums - all these moments stay in your head forever.
"What was key this year was that we never stopped believing. And believe me, that is easier said than done. There are so many 'experts' out there making throwaway remarks about who will be the champion and who the loser, and you don't have to let that get to you. Not the positive and not the negative. You have to focus completely on your own business and never worry about what other people do or don't do.
"What some of my competitors might have underestimated - but which probably was a huge cornerstone of the success - is the understanding that every single point counts. Only three points - nearly even less - stood between first and second in the end, between having your name on the trophy again or not."
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