Sebastian Vettel admits that he is more determined than ever to win his home grand prix at Hockenheim this weekend, if only to end his miserable race record in the height of summer.
Amazingly, given that he has won the last two world championship titles and romped to the crown in 2011, the German has yet to win a race in July, despite the month traditionally hosting three rounds, including his home event. Vettel's victory at Silverstone came on a rare occasion when the event was staged earlier in the year, in mid-June, and the jinx also means that the German's ardent fans have yet to have a home success to cheer, although the past three races have seen him finish second, third and fourth.
"My goodness!" Vettel exclaimed, with a smile, when the statistic was put to him, "If it doesn't work this year, then we [must] move [the German GP] to August - or June! I don't know.
"Obviously, it would be very special to win here. First of all, to have the chance to race in your home country is something that's very special, and being able to win would be incredible. We'll try again – but I don't believe in a bad month or a bad date in that regard."
Vettel was also a little wide-eyed when it was pointed out that he was a massive 104 points behind his championship tally at the same point last season, underlining just how much of a dog-fight the 2012 campaign has become. The Red Bull driver has won just once, in round four in Bahrain, and has not managed to repeat the sort of podium regularity that aided his previous championship challenges. Although he has seen potential victories snatched away - most noticeably while appearing to have legs on the field in Valencia - only Melbourne and Silverstone have so far yielded top three finishes.
"It's different, of course," he admitted, "Obviously, we had an incredible year last year, [with a] good start, a lot of points, a lot of wins. This year, we've had two DNFs and, all in all, I think it has been a tricky season.
"Obviously, a lot of guys and a lot of cars that are very competitive, so naturally I think it's a different season so far, but, feeling-wise, I feel as happy as last year really, so I'm looking forward to this weekend. I think we have a long season ahead of us."
Having started his career at the likes of Hockenheim and the Nurburgring, Vettel had a lot of memories to recall as he turned up at the former for this weekend's race.
"I remember the first time I came here was with my father in, I think, 1992," he said, "I was five years old and we came on a Friday, it was raining like crazy, on the old track. We were waiting for the cars to come, for Michael [Schumacher] to come, but they only did the installation lap. But that was already enough because just to hear the cars, the sound, see them, see the spray, was unique.
"A couple of years later, I watched again an F1 grand prix, from the main grandstand and it was very hot. I remember they sold water for 10 Deutsche Marks, which was really expensive at the time and, later on, when we left, we found out that they had just refilled the water bottles from the tap, so that was quite a good business!
"After that, through Formula BMW and F3, [there was] a lot of racing here. It's not far away from where I was born, where I grew up, therefore it's obviously special to come here."