Sebastian Vettel admits that, having reached the top of the F1 mountain, he needs to adopt a tougher mindset to cope with the rarefied atmosphere of chasing a first world championship - but he believes that he can still succeed in 2010.

Speaking exclusively to the official F1 website, Vettel accepted that, despite having the best car in the field, he had made mistakes that could potentially cost him this year's world championship, but insisted that he was not the only one to show signs of cracking under pressure, and claimed that he could still overcome the 24-point deficit that separates him Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber from the top of the table.

The German has been the dominant force in qualifying, claiming seven pole positions, but has only converted that advantage into a brace of victories, with a string of errors - both of his making and the team's - leaving him as the championship outsider with five races to run. Vettel refuses to dwell on the downside of the campaign so far, however.

"You always know why something happened, and you draw self-confidence from that fact," he reasoned, "Every race that I started from pole position had its own history and drama. The really important thing is that, when you come home in the evening, you are able to look yourself in the mirror - no matter how the race has been. It's very important to be honest with yourself and not try and sugar-coat anything. Then you can easily live with anything that comes your way.

"I guess my dad chews on things much more then I do. For me, as long as you understood what happened and why, then you can accept it. For example, you are in the lead and the engine blows, and then you naturally want to understand why it happened. You immediately question if it was your mistake or [if] you have been too aggressive. But, if it was none of those factors and you have understood why it happened, then you just move on. That is the only way you can handle such situations, in order to be fully there for the next race.

"I think, if you move to the top of the mountain and the air is getting thinner up there, then you have to be strong-headed. I would argue that there are many racing drivers who can drive incredibly quickly, but being able to reach the ultimate goal is something that is decided in your own head. To be ready, when it counts. Thoughts about being jinxed [or] whatever, means your head is already occupied, and you probably just end up in a self-fulfilling prophecy. And that is not for me!"

Branded the 'crash kid' by McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh after the accident that took Jenson Button out of the Belgian Grand Prix - and, coincidentally, denied himself a scoring opportunity - Vettel accepts that there have been errors on his behalf, but insists that he is not the only one making them.

"It has been a rollercoaster ride for a number of drivers - including me," he conceded, "I admit that I have made two mistakes, minor mistakes, which had huge impacts. Other drivers made mistakes too, but it doesn't help me that Fernando Alonso, a two-time world champion, spiralled himself off the track in Spa, or Lewis [Hamilton] in Monza, when he tried to find a gap to pass Felipe [Massa] when there wasn't one. These things don't change my situation.

"I can live with my mistakes and I have learnt my lesson. There was only one race where I would say that I was the reason for not scoring the most amount of points possible - Spa. One out of 14 races. I can live with that and I stand tall about what I've done. I wanted to pass Jenson and it was a little mistake that had a bigger impact. We have a car that doesn't allow me to pass a McLaren or Mercedes on the straight, so I have to try something with the brakes. When it happened I was clearly faster and I saw a chance and wanted to seize it. Unfortunately it didn't work, I lost the car and regrettably took Jenson out as well.

"Such little mistakes happen and sometimes they have a huge impact. Other than that, there have only been two races where I didn't see the chequered flag. One was in Australia, where we had a failure on the left-front tyre, and the other was in Turkey. I have given my opinion about what happened there and I still stand by what I've said."

The highly-publicised Istanbul incident where Vettel and Webber collided when the German attempted to take the lead from his team-mate revealed what appeared to be internal divisions within the Red Bull camp, with accusations of favouritism towards Vettel continuing through the summer, heightened by the front wing farrago at Silverstone, but the youngster is reluctant to talk about the political side of life in F1.

"I think there have been a number of things happening internally in the team, but it's not my style to do laundry in public," he insisted, "If there is a problem, I try to solve it internally. I don't mean the relationship to my team-mate, but anything that is not working as it probably should, including possible defects on the car.

"The cars are built so close to the limit that there is always the chance of things not working as perfectly as anticipated, but I am not the type of person to point my finger at something and wash my hands of any involvement. I am also not that kind of guy to fall into the popular scheme of saying that I would have won if so and so had not happened. We are a team and we win together and lose together. If we are not winning then there must be a reason for it, but I would never put the blame on others, only to look better. I think I know what happened - if something happened."

Despite all that has gone on this season, and the 24-point deficit he currently faces in the championship, Vettel believes that he can still win the title.

"We know that we can win, and we know that we can finish races high up in the points," he explained, "If we were able to reach our optimum at each of the remaining races and end the season as champions that, of course, would be fantastic. If we don't, then it was not because of those last five races. What others do is not in our hands, but I think we have a very good chance. I think that the tracks coming next should suit our car - and that includes Singapore."

Asked who he feared most in the championship race, Vettel admitted that all four of the drivers ahead of him had to be respected, but suggested that those with the points advantage in their pocket would naturally be the toughest to overcome.

"If you look at the points, you would name Lewis and Mark, so it is up to them to defend their advantage and for us three to eliminate that advantage," he opined, "There are still five races to go and their advantage is not more than a race win, so anything can still happen.

"In the case of Fernando, he was theoretically out of the championship race on two occasions, and yet he is still here in the fight, so anything can happen. Remember 2007, when Kimi [Raikkonen] looked clearly defeated and still managed to get the title?

"The biggest impulse comes from me. In the car, you are all by yourself and, in that moment, there is no room for outside expectations. I think, once you've understood that the cockpit is a solitary space and it's all in your own hands to succeed, then you are the one to set your goals - and try to reach them."