LONDON - Newly-crowned quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel should be forgiven this weekend if he appears reluctant to grab pole position at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The relentless 26-year-old German, who won last Sunday's Indian Grand Prix to secure his fourth drivers' crown in succession and confirm his Red Bull team's fourth constructors' title, will not have over-celebrated.
As a keen, but shrewd, student of his sport's history, he will know not only that he has joined an exclusive hall of fame - as one of only four men to have taken four titles - but also that the prime starting spot at the Yas Marina Circuit is something of a poisoned chalice.
In the four previous Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the pole sitter has experienced serious problems three times and failed to finish the race - hardly an auspicious sign that it is essential to success in the season's only 'twilight' race.
The only driver to have taken pole and not only finished, but won in Abu Dhabi, however, was Vettel on the evening when he secured his maiden title in November, 2010, an achievement that initiated some wild scenes of celebration.
In 2009's inaugural race, defending champion Briton Lewis Hamilton retired with a brake problem. In 2012, also with McLaren, he lost fuel pressure. In 2011, Vettel took pole, but suffered a first corner puncture.
If this suggests that the winner can come from anywhere, it would be untrue since only one victor - Finn Kimi Raikkonen for Lotus last year - started from behind the front row, a fact that makes second on the grid such a promising position.