Sebastian Vettel played down Red Bull’s performance heading into the first race of the season despite going fastest in testing today.
The world champion said: “I think it looks quite promising so far but it?óÔé¼Ôäós hard to know where you really are as lap times are all over the place. It?óÔé¼Ôäós difficult to read what the others are doing.
“We haven?óÔé¼Ôäót had any big problems with reliability which is quite good, as far as we are able to judge so far.”
“I?óÔé¼Ôäóm smart enough to know we all start the year with zero points.
Obviously I know what we achieved last year but in a way that doesn?óÔé¼Ôäót really help us this year. It?óÔé¼Ôäós a new challenge.
“Since February when we started testing we have had a lot to work on and problems to solve, there are a lot of new things on the car, new tyres and that will keep us busy enough.”
He added the team might not really understand how competitive they are compared to their rivals until the second race: “The season hasn?óÔé¼Ôäót started so that?óÔé¼Ôäós why it?óÔé¼Ôäós difficult to read especially with the tyres. You don?óÔé¼Ôäót know how quick you are or how good your speed is.
“I think in general it looks quite good and the car is reliable so far. The speed seems to be OK compared to the rest of the field. We should be there or thereabouts.
“I think it?óÔé¼Ôäós difficult and we need to wait one race to see exactly where we are. Melbourne is not a real racetrack so it could be in Malaysia or later we see what?óÔé¼Ôäós actually going on, with the tyres and with having more than two stops for sure. It could be different kind of racing but we?óÔé¼Ôäóll find out in Australia.”
Vettel still expects to see more than two pit stops for each driver during the races: “It depends how many tyres you have. I think at least three or four stops.”
The drivers are meeting with the FIA this evening to discuss the safety implications of some of the new rules this year, including the Drag Reduction System.
Vettel said: “It?óÔé¼Ôäós not only about the wings but the wing works similar to the F-duct last year.
“In the race it?óÔé¼Ôäós different as you can only use it in the dedicated place. In qualifying and practice you can use it whenever you want.
“I think the F-duct was banned for certain reasons. We have a similar system except you don?óÔé¼Ôäót have to use your elbow, leg, knee or arm. You only have to press a button but it still uses the same energy.”
After an occasionally fraught 2010 he expects his relationship with team mate Mark Webber to be “back to normal”:
“I think it?óÔé¼Ôäós the same as last year. He tries to beat me and I?óÔé¼Ôäóm sure if you ask him that he will say the same and I try to beat him too. All back to normal I would say.
“Obviously there were occasions last year where we had different opinions. We are not brothers, we don?óÔé¼Ôäót have the same parents. I feel we are not the same type of people but even brothers can be very different.”
Quotes and additional reporting by Leandra Graves
2011 F1 testing
- Young Drivers Test Day 3 in pictures
- Vergne completes third day on top in Abu Dhabi
- Young Drivers Test Day 2 in pictures
- Vergne stays quickest on second day of test
- Italian F3 pair complete Ferrari test
- Jean-Eric Vergne leads first day of young drivers test
- McLaren cover least test distance with new car
- Rosberg: Mercedes are “on the up”
- Second Barcelona test day 5 in pictures
- Hamilton: reliability and pace concerns for McLaren
Image ?é?® Red Bull/Getty images