Sebastian Vettel is not dwelling on the past as the Formula One world champion aims to consolidate his supremacy at the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday.
Last year, Vettel collided with Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber while fighting for the lead in the Istanbul race. Vettel was unable to continue while Webber had to settle for third behind the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
Victory on Sunday will likely be decided again between the two top teams after Vettel won the first two season races before Hamilton beat him for the top of the podium three weeks ago in China.
“I think we’ve had a good start to the season but we can’t afford to sit back now as a result of that, but have to continue putting pressure on the competition and giving our best in every race,” Vettel said in an interview with the German Press Agency dpa.
Vettel said he was “a bit disappointed” after failing to win in Shanghai, but aims to bounce back in Turkey, where he said he has learnt his lesson from 2010. “I can’t change things that have happened. More importantly I could learn from them,” he said.
The Vettel-Webber rivalry is less intense this year as the German has dominated his Australian rival in the current campaign.
Vettel tops the championship with 68 points from Hamilton (47), Button (38) and Webber (37), but also has his eyes on Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes at the this early stage of the season.
McLaren were delighted with Hamilton’s win in Shanghai, but are aware that not only they, but all other teams have used the three-week break after the overseas openers to upgrade their package for the European season debut.
“Winning in China was a fantastic reward for all the hard effort that’s been undertaken,” said team principal Martin Whitmarsh. “We’re excited and encouraged by the pace and consistency that both drivers have shown in the opening three flyaway races, but the return to Europe brings fresh challenges.
“We’re under no illusions that we need to improve our qualifying and race pace if we are to remain a threat at the front.
Additionally, many teams will be readying significant upgrade packages for the Turkish Grand Prix; nobody can afford to sit still.
Whitmarsh also expressed his hope that the one-two finish 12 months ago in Turkey “will doubtless spur on the whole team.” Ferrari, meanwhile, are admitting to a below-par start into the season in which they want to claim the title they lost in the last 2010 race when a poor pit-stop strategy in the final race allowed Vettel to steal first place from Fernando Alonso.
The Italian team is yet to make the podium with Alonso currently a distant fifth on 26 points. Team-mate Felipe Massa is the last Ferrari man to win in Istanbul, three straight years 2006-2008.
“We are going through a difficult period and there is no point denying that our start to the season was a disappointing one,” said chief designer Nikolas Tombazis.
“At the moment, we don’t have a winning car and, on those of our competitors we can see innovative solutions introduced in a more aggressive fashion than we have done. Maybe we were a bit too passive in our approach: we did not push hard enough in some areas of development and unfortunately, the results can be seen on track.” The action in Istanbul starts on Friday with two practice sessions, qualifying is on Saturday and the 58-lap race on the 5.338-kilometres course on Sunday.