Sebastian Vettel refuses to rule himself, or anyone else, out of the F1 world championship fight for 2012, pointing out that performances have fluctuated from race to race through the first half of the year.
The German - world champion for each of the past two seasons - currently sits third in the standings, having finished in a similar position in Sunday's British Grand Prix, and acknowledges that, unlike 2011, there are still comparatively few points separating the leading contenders. While it is easy to include the two men ahead of him in the list of contenders - although he doesn't mention Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber by name - Vettel remains wary of those enduring tougher times, expecting the form book to swing back in their direction at some point.
"At the moment, it is still very competitive," he told the official F1 website, "There are a number of drivers performing on a similar level, as the results show. There are three of us within 29 points - after nine races! I think that the drivers who stand out right now are Fernando [Alonso] - he is one of the most complete drivers - and Lewis [Hamilton], who is very quick, even though he was a bit unlucky in Silverstone.
"But then again there are plenty of others. Michael [Schumacher] is still in the game, as I don't think that he's lost it. The truth is that your performance is only as good as you and the package you have - and that can change every fortnight. So there are definitely more names to drop than just one."
The championship trail takes Vettel to home soil in a week's time, and the German is keen to get back to the front at Hockenheim after seeing a potential second win of 2012 denied him in Valencia and having to settle for third behind Webber and Alonso at Silverstone.
"It is always a special race, no doubt," he said of the German GP, "It is different, yes, but, on the other hand, you don't get more points there so I will enjoy the weekend and do my best. That goes without saying..."
The 2012 season has so far been a direct contrast to Vettel's second championship campaign, with the young German finding himself bounced around the pecking order and currently more than a race win away from regaining top spot. Despite that - and the hectic lifestyle that he feels many fans to not understand - he remains appreciative of the chance he has been given.
"I am in a lucky position and I hope that I appreciate it enough," he said, "I am not complaining as I love to live this life and, if I had to choose all over again, I would always pick this one, as I get the most satisfaction out of racing. I have never come across anything that would remotely give me the same level of fun. But I also have to admit that it comes with baggage and it seldom looks from the outside how it feels to live it. All that glitters isn't gold!
"[The dream is] different than you might think. You have always dreamed about the racing and in that respect it cannot get bigger. But the life that goes with it you cannot dream about because you don't know what it will be like. You can't imagine in the slightest what comes your way. You are permanently travelling, have a 24/7 job, and have little time for yourself, and even less time for friends and family.