Formula One star Mark Webber has admitted he must increase his qualifying pace if he is to catch Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel this season.
Webber, with probably two years remaining in F1, says qualifying holds the key to the world championship, as long as the team maintains the edge which has seen Vettel take out the past two drivers' championships.
The 35-year-old qualified ahead of the German just three times last season, with Vettel converting a stunning 15 pole positions in 19 races into 11 victories en route to a second successive title.
Webber, who says he is determined to bounce back from a dismal season in which he won only one race, the final round in Brazil, said he planned to focus on halting Vettel's qualifying dominance, starting with the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park next week.
''Seb's clearly going to be performing at a good level again, and he's not going to be lifting off,'' Webber said.
''If Seb's dominating that pole position, it gives him a very strong position to tee the race up, so he needs to drop the consistency of that.
''If I can put myself in that front position and get to that first pit stop first, that makes things a lot easier within our own little battle.
''It still might not be enough to win the race as McLaren might be 30 seconds down the road, but in terms of racing amongst ourselves, we know how it works within the team. If that's good enough to be ahead of everyone else, then happy days.''
However, the latest comment from Red Bull boss Christian Horner that the best is yet to come from Vettel, will hardly hearten the Australian.
''You forget how young he is, he's still 24 years of age,'' Horner said of Vettel. ''We've yet to see the best of him. He's still emerging and blossoming as a driver, as a talent, and I think there is some strong years to come from him.'' AAP
AUSTRALIAN F1 GRAND PRIX
Sunday, March 18 at Albert Park, Melbourne, 5pm.