Sebastian Vettel heads into the inaugural Korean Grand Prix buoyed by victory in Japan, and insists that he feels that momentum is now on his side in the battle for the 2010 F1 world title.
The German converted pole position into a race win for only the second time in eight attempts, but closed the gap on second-placed Fernando Alonso in the championship standings, and arrives in Yeongam 14 points adrift of Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber. Although the Australian actually extended his advantage at the top of the table, he can no longer afford to finish second behind Vettel in the final three races, adding to the German's sense of optimism.
"It is always a bonus if you go into an important race weekend with a win - it always gives you a bit of extra tailwind and adds to your self-confidence," Vettel told the official F1 website, "Remembering that Sunday in Suzuka, it was a very busy and unusual day, with qualifying and the race on the same day, which added a lot to the experience. And then both had a happy ending - that made me sleep extra well.
"I think, if there is momentum on my side, I know the reason. The last race was good for me and I felt comfortable in the car and got back into the rhythm. Not that I had lost it, but there have been things throughout the season that were probably not visible from the outside. What we have learned from last year is that, if you don't have the possibility to win, you should not try to force it. We have been able to collect a lot of points and are now in a position to be in the race for both titles."
As in Japan, there are still five drivers in with a shout of the championship, and Vettel refuses to rule anyone out, even though McLaren team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are 28 and 31 points adrift respectively.
"Mark is in the best position right now, as he is in the lead, but we have also seen this season that things can change very fast," he said, repeating a mantra favoured by all of his rivals, "Three races to go is almost an eternity, and I will have an eye on all four, not only one. It's not only Mark - there are also others that you have to consider. I am doing my own thing and not thinking of what people think I am or am not. I am fully concentrating on myself. Let's wait and see what the outcome will be. The most important thing is to be at the top of the standings after the last race. Everything before that is irrelevant.
"I think it is normal that you dream about certain things and, obviously, becoming F1 world champion is something that is on my agenda. Of course, it is a dream that you dream once in a while, [but] there are still five candidates for the title, with bigger or smaller chances, and don't forget that this weekend in Korea is new to all of us. What will be key is who is adapting to this new track and these 'different' circumstances best and fastest."
The all-new Korea International Circuit has been tipped to favour Red Bull, but Vettel admits that it is not 100 per cent designed for the RB6, with an opening sector that could instead play into the hands of McLaren.
"Sector one shouldn't be our favourite part because there are many straights, and it is no secret that straights don't play to our advantage," he confirmed, "But, as this part has corners as well, it should not all be too bad and we should not over dramatise it. I think that, overall, the track should work quite well for us. There are tracks that work far less for us, like Monza or Spa.
"Sectors two and three have hardly any straight lines, so no reason to panic there, but, from what I saw, the track is very dusty, so it will be very interesting how it works. Finding out the grip level will be an adventure. For the conditions, it looks quite good, so we should be heading for an interesting race weekend. That is the most important thing. The moment the engines are roaring all other things are completely unimportant."