MONTE CARLO // Sebastian Vettel is hoping to join an exclusive club of drivers who have triumphed at the Monaco Grand Prix, but knows his car is not enough to take him to victory.
The reigning world champion leads the drivers' standings by 41 points and his Red Bull Racing RB7 is widely regarded as the fastest in the sport.
But on Monte Carlo's street circuit, where history shows overtaking is nearly impossible, Vettel said it takes more than a quick car to finish atop the podium.
"This is a track where the driver can make a difference," Vettel said yesterday.
"The focus is very intense and you need to concentrate. It's very tight, there's not a lot of space and the higher up you can qualify will better your chances on Sunday.
"There is not a lot of room for error, but you have to push very hard the entire time. That's the thrill of it: Everything needs to be right, you need to have confidence and the car to your liking.
"You don't need the quickest car, but you do need to feel comfortable."
Of the five drivers who have scored points at every race this season, the 23-year-old German is the only one not to have won in Monte Carlo. Vettel admitted in a column he writes for German publication Bild that Monaco is "only half as nice if I don't win here at least once".
Yesterday he elaborated, adding that while it is "not a hole" that needs filled, he wants to join the pantheon of driving greats.
"I enjoy coming here; it's very scenic and for the spectators, it's nice to get very close to the cars. It's a different venue. It's not a race track, it's in the city and obviously you have the history and the tradition is huge and it would be an honour to put my name on that list of winners around here," said Vettel, who finished second here last year, behind teammate Mark Webber.
"We are driving for the championship; that is more important. But this is one of the races that, as a driver, would mean a lot to me."
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso, the Ferrari driver who has won twice in Monte Carlo, said the decision to reshuffle staff at the Italian manufacturers was necessary if they are to challenge Vettel for the championship.
The technical director Aldo Costa was earlier this week moved aside and replaced by Pat Fry, who will lead chassis development, and Corrado Lanzone, who will take charge of production, in a quest to improve results.
"It is true that we need to reorganise a little bit inside the team and I am sure that we will do that very quickly because we cannot lose any time," Alonso said.
"We need a quicker car immediately to fight for the championship and we will see what we can do."