Michael Schumacher has singled out Sebastian Vettel as the man everyone needs to beat this season if they are to have a chance of grabbing the world championship.
Vettel's performances in the first two races of the year, where he has been leading from pole position before reliability problems struck, have left Schumacher in no doubt about the potential of his Red Bull Racing rival.
"If you ask me about a rival who stands out, it is him," Schumacher said during a promotional appearance for Petronas in Kuala Lumpur. "If you look at the car he has and the way he's driving, he is the driver who's going to be the biggest threat. Of course, he didn't have luck in the first two races. But if it went right, he would have won both."
Schumacher also reiterated that he is satisfied with his own performance in the first two races of the year, despite the fact he has been out-qualified and outraced thus far by teammate Nico Rosberg.
When asked about suggestions he had lost his touch after returning to F1 aged 41, he said: "Probably this is what people like to see, but it isn't what I see and we're each entitled to our own opinion," he told the New Straits Times.
"In Australia, I saw the podium already in the first corner and then I got knocked out. We have to first see how things develop. It is still too early to say."