Despite the setback he suffered in Turkey at the weekend, Sebastian Vettel insists that he - and the Red Bull Racing team - remain focused on the 2010 Formula One world championship.
The German saw a potential second win of the season go begging when he collided with team-mate Mark Webber on lap 40 of the race at Istanbul Park, and came off worse than the Australian by being forced into retirement while Webber salvaged third place behind the two McLaren drivers. Vettel now sits fifth in the standings, 15 points behind Webber after going to Turkey level at the top of the table with the Australian.
Aware that his team-mate closed a far more significant gap with back-to-back victories in Spain and Monaco, helped by the revised scoring system for 2010, the 22-year old is determined to put Turkey - and the similar disappointment of seeing victories in Bahrain, Australia and China slip through his fingers - behind him as quickly as possible.
“I've experienced situations like this many times before, in F1 as well as in other series, including karting," Vettel told Motorsport Magazin
, "I've discovered the importance of keeping your ears and eyes open and learning from your mistakes.
“In the past, there have been occasions when I've missed out on a victory that was there for the taking. That put me under tremendous pressure and I'd be telling myself that I had to go all out in the next race. But that's just the sort of situation in which you're most likely to compound your errors and fail to produce your best performance.”
The German was also confident that Red Bull Racing could overcome the problems that have beset the first half of the season - where it has taken just three wins from seven races where it took pole position - and overcome the renewed challenge from McLaren and the latent threat from Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault.
“Admittedly, we don't have a line-up of former champions, at least not as far as the drivers are concerned,” Vettel, who could become the youngest world champion should he succeed this year, "but I'm convinced that we do have a team of genuine contenders.
“Records are there to be broken, and that sort of achievement always looks good in retrospect. But that's not what counts at the moment. The important thing is to secure the title in the first place. And, if not in 2010, then next year - or even the year after.”