Sebastian Vettel not planning to change his famous 'finger' victory salute
German in line for more glory at Suzuka after topping Friday practice
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 12/10/13 4:28am
The triple World Champion's public image has proved a constant talking point in recent months in the wake of the regular booing he has received from fans during podium ceremonies.
The reasons for the hostility of some fans towards Vettel is thought to be complex, with the 'Multi-21' controversy of Malaysia, his ongoing domination of Formula 1 and even his now famous ritual one-finger celebration salute all among the suggested causes.
Although Vettel has repeatedly attempted to shrug off the booing, it appeared at last Sunday's Korean GP that the team may have been attempting to start to turn the tide of public opinion when, on his victory slow-down lap in Korea, the German's race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin said to him: "P1, P0...and Mexican wave?"
Vettel, however, replied with an emphatic "finger" and duly went on to deliver his now characteristic celebration on his return to parc ferme - a tradition that appears unlikely to change.
"We have had a little bit of a chat as some people for some reason seem to get offended, but I think the most important is you are who you are and stick to that," the World Champion told Sky Sports F1 at Suzuka.
The prospect of Vettel's celebration getting another airing in Japan on Sunday are high after he started the race weekend in typically ominous fashion on Friday.
The 26-year-old, who has won the last four races to move within touching distance of a fourth successive World Championship, was fastest once again in second practice at Suzuka but still believes there is more pace to be extracted from his RB9.
"I think there's a little bit of room for improvement, especially looking after the tyres," the Red Bull driver told Sky Sports Online.
"(Mercedes) were much stronger this morning, but we improved the car - we were slower down the straights this morning.
"I think possibly the circuit was a little bit slower this afternoon. It's quite tricky and very hard on tyres - that will be the biggest challenge.
"It's good that we are up there but we need to up our game because Mercedes will be very, very strong in qualy for sure, extracting everything from the option tyre."