Turkish Grand Prix polesitter Mark Webber insists that he is feeling confident after claiming a third straight pole position and aiming for a rare personal hat-trick on Sunday afternoon.
Admitting in the build-up to the race that he could not remember the last time he won three races in succession, the Australian shrugged off the problems that plagued him throughout free practice to see off both team-mate Sebastian Vettel and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in qualifying. Having converted top spot in both Barcelona and Monaco into victories that propelled him into a share of the championship lead, Webber insisted that he was not fazed by Istanbul Park's reputation of gifting wins to its own polesitters.
"I have had worse pressure," he conceded, after being reminded that only Jenson Button, in 2009, has managed to break the run, "I think it was nine from nine in Barcelona and I made it ten from ten. It is a nice place to start the race but, potentially, it is one of the more interesting races tomorrow. It is a long race, and the tyres go with different people here and there, but we are optimistic that we can get a good result from [pole].
"I've been very lucky, during my time, to meet a lot of successful sportsmen and women, and I don't think it matters what you've done in the past in your career and in the future, [pressure] is what sport is about. That's why we love turning up to test ourselves and there is always an element of pressure to perform and do well in any sport."
The pole was Red Bull Racing's seventh in as many races this season, with Webber now edging Vettel 4-3, but the Australian admitted that he had not been quite so confident about achieving top spot as he toiled with various engine, hydraulic and handling problems during free practice.
"It hasn't been the smoothest of weekends for us in terms of getting the running in," he acknowledged, "Obviously, Friday was a little bit disrupted, but not massively to be honest. If you could ever have a problem with the engine, it is probably the right time to have it. This morning, we were not having the easiest P3, but getting ready for qualifying, things started to get a bit better.
"I was a little bit on the back foot going into it, but I knew I could dig deep, keep going and get something out of it. In the end, it turned out okay. To be honest, I am more comfortable with [the race] tomorrow than I am on out-and-out pace, but at least I am starting in the right place. It was a tight fight between all of us, and Seb had a bit of a problem with his car, but, apart from that, we are all very close.
"I had a very, very poor long run in P2, but we know why, and we know everyone will start on the option [tyre], get on with it. We had an interesting feel with the gap to Lewis in Barcelona. They are a bit more competitive here, but we certainly still had something up our sleeve, so we will see how it goes."
Hamilton's McLaren was clocking higher numbers through the speed traps than the Red Bull cars, but Webber insisted that he was comfortable with the decision not to run with RBR's version of the F-duct this weekend.
"We are achieving similar lap times in a different way, no question about it," he mused, "On certain parts of the track, they are strong, but there are certain parts [where] we are strong so, on the stopwatch, it is pretty close.
"We went in with our eyes wide open [as the F-duct] is a pretty special project to get right. McLaren got the jump on everyone, and fair play to them., but we have got some fantastic people in our team, knowing what we need to do in the future. We have more to lose than to gain by taking any risks. We are not exactly in a situation like a team that is fifth or sixth quickest. We are in the hunt, so let's consolidate and, inch by inch, we can introduce things. We have never put stuff on the car to make it slower, so we are not going to start now."