Sebastian Vettel insists he will not spoil his Japanese Grand Prix weekend by reflecting on rival Lewis Hamilton’s dominant streak.
Ferrari driver Vettel trails Hamilton by 50 championship points with just 125 remaining after the Briton’s impressive run of five victories at the last six rounds.
Vettel has triumphed just once since winning at Silverstone in July, and is now relying on an implosion from Hamilton to beat the Mercedes driver to a fifth world championship.
But speaking ahead of the race here in Suzuka on Sunday, Vettel said: ‘I don’t like the now or never approach as there’s not much sense in that.
‘I didn’t know that Hamilton had beaten me in five out of six races, so now I know, the secret as before has been not to count.
‘I love this track – it is my favourite in the world – so I had better enjoy it, and not spoil it by starting to count the things that are against me and focus on the things that work instead.’
Ferrari have enjoyed the superior machinery over Mercedes for much of the campaign, but the Italian team were a distant second to their rivals in Russia last weekend.
But while Vettel denied a suggestion that Ferrari have taken a wrong turn with the design of their upgraded car, he admitted it will be hard for his team to turn round their disadvantage to Mercedes in the space of just seven days.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team, meanwhile, have not been beaten at Suzuka since 2013.
‘Within a week you can’t do too many things differently to the car, so we hope that the track suits us a bit better than it did in Sochi,’ he added.
‘We haven’t lost direction. We have made progress with our car. You never know where you are in comparison to the others, but I’m pretty sure by speaking to all our engineers that we are where we wanted to be.
‘Of course you would like to be further ahead with more performance, but that’s the same for everyone.’