Sebastian Vettel insisted that he is as hungry for a new title this year as he'd ever been, but added that this could prove to be his toughest season yet and that nothing could be taken for granted.
"It will be tough to beat Mark, tough to beat the other guys, the other teams," said Vettel at the launch of the new 2013 Red Bull
car on Sunday. "The last three years have been very good for us, we managed to beat them - but there is no guarantee that we will keep winning.
"It all starts again from zero, a very tough challenge," he said, admitting that he definitely felt the pressure was on him to do well again in 2013. "It will be a long year again, tough challenges waiting for all of us.
"It will be tough to win a fourth world title, because the other teams will do everything to try and beat us," he added. ""We are racing against the best teams and drivers, [and] the best drivers are in the best teams."
Running through his chief rivals for this year's title, he started off naturally enough with the man who came closest to thwarting his third championship coming true in 2012 - Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
"It's not a secret I respect him a lot as a driver and have a very high opinion of him," said Vettel. "But Mark is another, and Lewis, and so on. I usually don't like to name them because I might forget one!"
He had: Mark Webber
helpfully leaned over and whispered in his team mate's ear, and Vettel's eyes lit up. "Jenson!", he added in a flash, with a apologetic smile.
Despite his prolific and precocious success against such strong competition, and while still aged only 25, Vettel himself seems oddly underrated by many who are quick to overlook or downplay his achievements in the sport: 26 races and 46 podiums from just 101 Grand Prix starts to go alongside that trio of titles. That can't help but irritate Vettel, even if only just a little; and perhaps it's one of the things that drives him on to bigger and better success year-on-year.
"It's nice looking back at the numbers and seeing what you've achieved, I think it's pretty special [but] pretty difficult to keep on doing and repeat," he said. "But the focus is not on continuing to write a certain story if you look at numbers and stuff like that.