Sebastian Vettel says he is eager to make amends for his failure to win the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix when he return to Suzuka this weekend.
The Red Bull driver missed out on a hat-trick of wins in the event when he could only finish third last year, although that was still enough to secure the championship title for the second time.
This time around the German is 29 points down on Fernando Alonso and will be keen to outscore the Spaniard at his favourite circuit on the calendar – and one where he admits he was frustrated by his failure to win last year.
“I love the Suzuka circuit,” he said. “In short, it has the most amazing corners and brilliant fans, I really like coming here. In 2011 the country experienced unbelievable difficulties, so it was extremely important to try and give them some enjoyment and to show our support for their suffering.
“I wish I had won in 2011, it was my third Formula One race on my favourite track and it still bothers me a bit that I took my world title with a third place. The track itself is huge and almost every metre of it is special.”
Team-mate Mark Webber said he too was looking forward to Suzuka, and said he was hopeful that Red Bull would get to the bottom of its recent qualifying issues to enjoy an easier lead-up to the race.
“I'm looking forward to the Japanese Grand Prix as it's an opportunity to get a top result again on a track I enjoy driving on,” he said. “Qualifying has not been as strong for us recently and we know this has to be improved. We are focusing on that and, once that's better, we can make a strong push towards being better positioned at the end of Grands Prix. The Suzuka Circuit has an incredible combination of corners. You have to be very accurate and rhythm is very important. It's a good challenge for the drivers.”