Sebastian Vettel insists that starting from second place on the grid for the Korean Grand Prix will not be a disadvantage, despite lining up on the dirty side of a seldom used circuit.
The German was out-gunned by Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber in qualifying for round 16 of the 2012 world championship, partly as a result of being distracted by Felipe Massa's Ferrari at the start of his final flying lap, but believes that he can still get ahead of the Australian when the 55-lap race gets underway in the middle of Sunday afternoon.
"I don't think it's a big disadvantage," he maintained, "Sure, I think I would rather be on pole, but qualifying is over so we start from second and I don't think it's a big problem. Last year, we made a good launch and I think here that you never know what may happen.
"You might as well start third, fourth, fifth and you could end up first by turn four, so you don't know. There's a long straight after the second corner, [and] obviously I had a tight battle with Lewis last year, so these are things you have to take as they come. It's difficult to know now what's going to happen but, first of all, I will focus on the start and then go from there.
Vettel's mood will no doubt be lightened by the knowledge that no polesitter has won the Korean Grand Prix, albeit from a sample of just two events.
"Obviously, I have good memories from last year with Lewis, when he was on pole," he smiled, "but I think we'll see tomorrow that it's a long race. I think we're happy with second and a front row for Red Bull Racing. Obviously, the car seems to work well, I think in the race we might be even in a little bit better place. Let's see what we can do tomorrow."
To his credit, Vettel refused to blame Massa for spoiling his lap, despite comments caught on team radio where he questioned why he hadn't been warned about the Ferrari driver's presence.
"I thought he was coming in but then, on the last sector, he was right in front of me, so I had to back-off," he reported, "It's not ideal, just starting a timed lap, and just before that to back off but I think nevertheless the second lap wasn't good enough. I lost a little bit today in the middle sector, which seemed to be okay all weekend but, when the circuit ramped up, I wasn't able to go with it."