Budapest: Fernando Alonso claimed on Thursday that it is imperative he beats defending triple world champion Sebastian Vettel in this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix - if he wants to avoid enduring a miserable summer holiday.
The two-time champion Spaniard is 34 points behind the German while his team Ferrari lag 70 points behind Vettel's Red Bull outfit in the constructors' championship as Formula One approaches its mid-season European summer break.
Alonso told reporters at the Hungaroring that another defeat by the rampant Vettel and Red Bull might be very difficult to respond to when the Ferrari factory reopens in August.
He said: "A good result is important because it is the summer break now and it will be good for the motivation of the team and our focus if we can close the gap with Sebastian a little before the break.
"If this gap increases, it will be a very stressful summer break for all of us and hard for motivation, so it's important."
Twelve months ago, Alonso arrived in Budapest with a 40-point cushion at the head of the drivers' championship, but finished third behind second-placed Vettel in the race - and then went on to lose the championship to his rival by three points.
So he is more aware than most of the need to keep a clear grip on his position now as he prepares for the final 10 races of the season, with nine of them following the four-week break that comes after this weekend's race.
The Spaniard, however, intends to remain fixed to a calm routine with the scarlet Scuderia as they prepare for what may be one of the hottest races in F1 history - and the introduction of Pirelli's new tyres.
"We'll do our normal routine," said Alonso with a shrug. "Of course, we may just need to maybe be more open with our strategy in case in those temperatures there is any need for an extra stop for tyres on Sunday.
"But we will do the normal work and then we'll try to understand all this in practice."