Some may call it arrogance, others swagger, but Sebastian Vettel always thought that Red Bull Racing had a simple air of confidence about it through his championship seasons.
Now, however, the German thinks that same 'swagger' is missing from the camp, as RBR struggles to keep pace with the likes of McLaren and Mercedes through the first few races of 2012. Although Vettel became the fourth different winner in as many races in Bahrain at the weekend, he still says that he doesn't have the same feeling as in either 2010 or 2011.
"We'd have loved to be in a better place to start but, nevertheless, I think we've had good races," he reflected, having finished second and fifth in Australia and China before taking victory – and returning to the head of the championship – in Bahrain, “It's tight and we're not as confident as we used to be.
"I'm not entirely happy with where we are, but I think there's great potential in the car. Small things can make a difference in qualifying and have a big impact on the race. The faster you go on Saturday, the easier the race is on Sunday.”
That assessment certainly proved true on Sunday when, having qualified on pole position 24 hours earlier, Vettel led from start to finish in Sakhir. Despite coming under pressure from Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen, the German was able to respond and pull away for victory, but does not expect to find himself at the front every couple of weeks, as he did en route
to eleven wins and a second title in 2011.
"You have to give yourself time to try different things and see what works best for you,” he said of the ongoing pursuit of performance from the RB8, “Maybe [RBR team-mate] Mark [Webber] struggles a bit less, I don't know, but we talk about how the car feels and agree on most stuff."
"[At the Mugello test], we'll be able to test and evaluate a lot of things and hopefully get the car in a happier place [for the Spanish Grand Prix]."