Sebastian Vettel will be a more relaxed and better driver next year after clinching his first world title in Abu Dhabi claims Red Bull's motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, who has stuck with the German through the good and bad times of his career, and stood on the podium with him after Sunday's race.
"I think he will be more mature, more relaxed after this," Marko said about the impact of Vettel's title. "So we are really looking forward to the next season."
Marko praised the way that Vettel kept his head this season – especially in the difficult times.
He also confirmed in public for the first time that Vettel's actions behind the safety car in Hungary – when he dropped back behind the restart and got a penalty – was not a simple case of him not paying attention.
Vettel had actually tried to help the team by allowing Webber as much of a head start as possible so the Australian's tire strategy would pay off – but slipped up by not remembering the mandatory distance he had to stay behind him. That earned Vettel a drive-through penalty and gifted Webber a vital victory.
Sources suggest Vettel only confessed to the truth of the matter a few weeks ago – as Marko confirmed the German had "tried to help the team" at the Hungaroring.
"I believe he had some tough races, like Turkey, and then there was Monte Carlo and Barcelona – where we found out his chassis had a problem," explained Marko. "Then he had this problem in Budapest where he tried to help the team but got the drive-through. But the hardest was Korea – leading and dominating the race under really difficult situations, and then having this engine failure 10 laps from the end."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner echoed Marko's comments about Vettel's mental strength this year, especially the way he coped with the difficult times.
"He has never lost his focus," he said. "He has kept his cool, he has never given up belief and he has never given up. He is a very, very determined young man.
"There have been low points for him this season. Korea a month ago, the way he handled that was unbelievable. He shrugged himself down, and said, 'No, we will be back, we will keep pushing and we will keep fighting,' and he has never lost belief in himself or the team. We are very, very proud of him.
"He has just grown and grown. He has gotten stronger with each season and he is only 23 years of age. It is remarkable progress and great maturity."
Although delighted with Vettel's own performance this year, Horner was well aware how much his performance was helped by the pressure from Webber this year.
"It is a monkey off his back at a very young age," said Horner. "He has achieved some awesome statistics in his short career. But let's not forget he has been pushed very, very hard by a huge performance from Mark Webber this year.
"I am hugely proud of what Mark has achieved. He has pushed relentlessly, he has taken the championship down to the last race. He could well have won this championship as both had their opportunities, so let's take nothing away from him, or from his performance this season. He has brought the best out of Sebastian and he has pushed him tremendously hard."
Marko also mocked McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh for his criticism of Vettel earlier this year, saying his rival would have been better off focusing on his own drivers. Whitmarsh blasted Vettel after he crashed into Button at the Belgian Grand Prix – saying his driving was more reminiscent of the junior categories than Formula 1.
When reminded of those comments after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Marko reckoned the words came back to haunt Whitmarsh after his driver Lewis Hamilton crashed himself in subsequent races.
"I think Whitmarsh was trying to put a lot of pressure on us," said Marko. "He should look and try and keep Hamilton on the road instead. I think it would have been better for his team, rather than making comments which are not justified."