Sebastian Vettel believes he has proved his doubters wrong after charging through the field in the Abu Dhabi and Brazilian Grands Prix to secure his third title.
The Red Bull driver started from the pitlane in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but went on to finish in third position. In Brazil, he spun on the opening lap after contact with Bruno Senna but came through the field with a damaged car to secure sixth position and with it the championship.
Vettel says these performances answer those who thought he could only be strong when he was starting from pole position.
"It's actually a little bit of comedy to look back now and you were the driver who can't overtake," said Vettel during a media event at the Red Bull factory. "Now after just two races people have changed their mind.
"To win from the front and to come through the field is the same. You still do your best, and people credit you have overtaken. You have come through the field, more than you pulling away and pulling lead of 8s or something. They don't maybe understand what it is worth to pull that gap.
"Last year we always started from a great position and, yeah, we didn't have to overtake – and then you get criticized for not overtaking."
Vettel won last year's title commandingly, taking 11 wins and scoring over 100 points more than his closest rival. This year, however, he beat Fernando Alonso by just three points. The Red Bull driver admitted the pressure to win back-to-back titles increased, but he reckons that focusing on each race individually is one of the keys to his success.
"It's not easy to stay focused in that regard – it's very, very hard, but I think for me I always try to go step by step," he said. "I said on Sunday after the race that the hardest thing is to win again after you have won.
"You get the attention and the pressure and you are very likely to focus on how to win again, rather than focus on small steps to win in the first place. Obviously we won the championship last year and this year again, so I don't want to praise ourselves, but I think we have done a couple of things right."
The three-time champion reiterated that the Brazilian Grand Prix had been extremely hard for him after his car was damaged at the start.
"It's not a miracle – there's an explanation," he said. "Obviously the fact the car was quite damaged after that didn't make our life easier. I was just not competitive. We lost a lot of power due to damage on the exhaust and we lost lot of performance due to damage to the floor."