Mar 14, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT
Three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has said that he does not feel the pressure of defending his titles heading into the opening round of the 2013 Formula One season.
“The secret is not to think about what happened the last three years,” Vettel said in an interview, before going on to reveal that he has felt less pressure since winning his first championship in 2010.
“After that, you don’t have that pressure anymore. You have proved to yourself more than anyone else that you can do so.”
Vettel has a mixed record at the Australian Grand Prix, with his highlight coming in 2011 when he won the race with ease. Last year, he finished in second place following a fortuitous safety car period, but crashes in 2009 and 2010 will undoubtedly be playing on the Vettel’s mind during the weekend.
The Red Bull driver also spoke about the new Pirelli tires which have been designed to be more aggressive in 2013, requiring greater management and care.
“In winter testing, we all suffered the same problems: the tires didn’t last. We hope it gets better here, otherwise it could be quite funny.”
Sergio Perez predicted in Barcelona that Australia could see as many as four stops, and with Pirelli electing to provide their softest tire for the weekend, it will be important to pick the right strategy to be in with a chance of winning in Melbourne. Vettel may not show signs of cracking under the pressure of three championships, but should he fail to reach the podium on Sunday, questions will be raised regarding the pace of his Red Bull RB9 for the season ahead.