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Vettel: "I admire Alonso a lot and respect him as a driver"

However, Vettel denied that he won the 2012 Drivers' Championship due to the superiority of Red Bull, rather than his ability as a driver. "We have also won races that we should not have," he said.

Vettel: "I admire Alonso a lot and respect him as a driver"

The calm has finally arrived after the storm. The war of words between Red Bull and Ferrari over the controversy of the yellow flags in the Brazilian Grand Prix in November appears to have cooled down and now Sebastian Vettel has praised his rival driver Fernando Alonso, who he beat to the 2012 Drivers' Championship by just four points.

The German driver told 'Auto Motor und Sport': "I admire Alonso very much and I respect him as a driver. For me it was clear from the beginning that my opponent for the title would be him. After the winter tests, Ferrari became competitive more quickly than we expected - yes, maybe in Malaysia he would not have won in the dry - but already by Barcelona he was among the best."

Vettel believes Alonso's greatest virtue "was to always be fast even if he was almost never the fastest," but said he does not share the opinion of many people that his third title was purely down to the superiority of the Red Bull engineers.

"If people think that Alonso's wins are about the driver and mine about the car, that is also Fernando's responsibility - but it doesn't bother me," he responded. "I don't want to stand here and prove my performance, but we have also won races that we should not have.

"Monaco last year, for example, when I made the decision against all reason to go with a one stop. Also Barcelona 2011, when Hamilton was faster [than me] but he couldn't get past me."

And the German reiterated that he never doubted his driving in the final race of the year in Interlagos was legal.

"I honestly never thought there was anything irregular about my overtaking. Although many things happened during the race, I always saw the flags, and I knew what colour they were, of course. Ferrari were not very happy with the result in Brazil, of course, but the FIA confirmed that everything had been done correctly, but I always knew I'd done nothing wrong."

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