takes practice, but I think you'll catch on quick.
When you're aiming at your target, you have a little leeway around the red + .
I've also noticed that those who are targeted have a tendency to be more evasive. So, while you're pursuing them, their buddies sneak up on you from behind (or some blind spot) .
So, when I can get away with it..if I do target someone, I'll often pay attention to the others who are lurking nearby trying to "snipe" me.
In close quarters combat, I found out that keeping the engine killed (Z) and using only the thruster, I could turn quicker at sharper angles of attack.
Also, with the engine killed and you're moving away with them hot on your tail, you can pivot around to face them (while moving backwards) . They don't know what to do, so they fall back further giving yourself a chance to escape or regroup to pick your next target.
Often, I've discovered that if you injure the flight leader enough (without killing him) the entire group will break off and retreat. (but remember, this does not happen with you're on a "mission" )