Sébastien Buemi has insisted that whilst he is finding the early setbacks he is encountering during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Scuderia Toro Rosso 'hard to deal with', he is not 'beating himself up' over a succession of turbulent outings that have somewhat dented his initial strong impression.
Having graduated to the top flight from a brace of moderately successful seasons in the GP2 feeder series, Buemi stunned paddock observers with both his pace and composure on his debut in the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, out-performing more experienced and highly-rated team-mate Sébastien Bourdais to finish seventh on his maiden appearance and join the exclusive club of drivers to have got amongst the points-scorers in F1 first time out.
The 20-year-old followed that up with another very solid run to eighth position and the final point in the rain-lashed Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai three weeks later, having sensationally made it through to the Q3 top ten shoot-out the previous day – and indeed he has out-qualified Bourdais on five occasions out of six to-date.
However, the young Swiss ace's tally from the last three races in Bahrain, Spain and Monaco has read 17th-DNF-DNF respectively, finding himself caught up in the opening lap mêlée in Barcelona and producing a distinctly patchy performance around the tight and tortuous streets of the glamorous Principality before unceremoniously removing both himself and Renault rival Nelsinho Piquet from the equation when he misjudged his braking point, locked up and shunted the Brazilian off into the unforgiving Ste Dévote barriers only eleven laps in.
After marking himself out as a star of the future upon his F1 arrival, Buemi appears now to be coming to terms with the harsh realities of the ups-and-downs of life at the pinnacle of his chosen sport.
“I've had three difficult weekends in the last three races,” confessed the man from Aigle. “In Bahrain I was unlucky to pick up a piece of [Robert] Kubica's car that got wedged in my front wing, in Spain someone drove into me and in Monaco I made a mistake. At the moment when these things happen, I find them hard to deal with, but afterwards I don't let them bother me. I tell myself I'm in Formula 1 trying to do the best I can, so there is no point in beating yourself up over what's happened.
“I just want to move forward and I hope that, starting with Turkey, things will improve and we can look to score points again. I think that with what we learned about the car in Monaco, we should be able to use all of its potential now. Our car is going better and better, and Istanbul should provide a clearer picture of where we really are in the order. We definitely need to do better than in the last three races!
“I've raced here twice in GP2, finishing on the podium in third place last year, so I have good memories of Turkey. I like the circuit – it's very modern, very fast and features the famous turn eight, the quadruple left-hander, which is rather special. I have always felt comfortable here, so I don't have too many worries and I hope that will be the case this year, for my first time in F1.”
Bourdais, for his part, has endured a torrid start to his sophomore campaign on the grand prix grid, with the significant improvement he showed over the second half of last year in little evidence thus far in 2009. A dogged eighth place in Monte Carlo was undeniably a confidence boost for the record-breaking multiple former Champ Car king, but he is aware that he needs to up his game fast if he is not to be eclipsed by his team-mate and stake his claim to a prolonged career at the highest level.