Vettel: Qualifying strategy aimed at beating Ferrari

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2013Sebastian Vettel said Red Bull’s qualifying strategy was partly in response to the threat from Ferrari this weekend.

Vettel used the medium tyre instead of the soft favoured by most of his rivals in Q3 but did not set a time on it after going off at the hairpin.

“I think we saw that some people are very fast especially the Mercedes and the Ferraris,” said Vettel after qualifying.

“Q2 wasn’t too bad, to be honest, we were able to split the Ferraris. They were very, very competitive all weekend on the soft, a different story on the [medium]. So we decided to obviously go a different direction. Whether that works or not we’ll see tomorrow.”

Vettel is optimistic his strategy will allow him to mount a challenge for victory despite starting ninth: “Obviously the soft tyres don’t last that long we saw that yesterday for everyone. Great on one lap but after that it’s not that nice. So the medium tyre seems a better race tyre, lasting quite well.

“We obviously have the possibility to still choose because we didn’t set a lap time at all but I think it’s pretty clear what we tried to achieve this afternoon.”

He said a brake problem was what caused him to go off during Q3: “I lost the brake pedal, I lost brake pressure and the pedal was very long.”

“I am not that tall so I didn’t have enough leg to keep on braking! I think there was something that broke.

“Yeah it was quite tricky when the car didn’t stop but the corner was coming. I locked the tyre but I checked it there’s no damage because there was very little load on the car. We’ll see but it doesn’t affect tomorrow.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Vettel: Qualifying strategy aimed at beating Ferrari”

  1. So he wants to beat Ferrari, but not the team which looks like the fastest car this weekend (Mercedes)?

    1. @kingshark
      we will have to wait the race to see which is the fastest car.

    2. I guess Red Bull does not expect Mercedes to be competing with them all year either.

      1. Or they dont expect Merc to have good race pace.

    3. @kingshark – maybe he just doesn’t expect to be able to compete with Mercedes. He should still be aiming for the win though, so essentially whoever’s fastest (which as you said looks like Mercedes).

  2. Kimi reckons he has less downforce than the Merc. Button points out the Merc as the fastest. Red bull resort to mid team tactics, Alonso can make the podium? But some think Button and Vettel are in the box seat???
    I reckon the “experts” on web have let their fandom cloud their judgement. Only two possible winners and they both have yellow helmets, drive a Merc and are not Mexican !!

    1. Indeed the Mercedes car looks to be the fastest this weekend but we just have to wait and see how they will handle their tyres tomorrow. Lotus and Ferrari are considered to be more gentle to their tyres and that maybe will give them the edge that they didn’t have today.

    2. Chiz (@a-flying-toilet)
      14th April 2013, 6:44

      NEVER rule out the greatest driver of this generation – Fernando Alonso

  3. Well, it seems Button thinks Vettel is the man to look for for a win too. And I can certainly see why.

    1. Well, it seems Button thinks Vettel is the man to look for for a win too.

      Knowing Vettel’s ochlophobia when not starting from pole, Button should hope that Seb doesn’t look for that win in his rear.

  4. you can see what they are thinking by just remembering what happens when you come in early to change from softs to mediums, anyone that starts on mediums will end up in front of those running softs due to the early pit stop, which is only 6/7laps into the race,
    no one will be able to make up 20secs in just 6/7 laps, hence your going to be behind those 2/4 front cars that start on mediums,
    and when it comes near the end of the race your lighter and will possibly manage 8/10laps at a faster pace than the guys left running the last segment on warn medium tires.
    will definitely make for an interesting strategy on Sunday, wait and see is all we can do at this point.

  5. I do hope that all the animosity surrounding the tyres and lack of activity during qualifying (not to mention all the team orders talk in Malaysia) isn’t overshadowing how great it is that we have so many teams competing for the front row at the minute. Isn’t it fantastic?

    With all the cars so close pace-wise, and with each track throwing up a new challenge or slight advantage to a different team each week, I’d say it’s more down to the driver than ever to get himself above everyone else over the course of the season. We haven’t even seen McLaren catch up yet!

  6. I get what Vettel and Redbull are trying to do, but to me it seems strange what they did in qualifying. It would’ve been better to do and out- and in-lap on the softs, and not use the medium tyre at all.
    As for the race, everything is still possible, but they surely need some luck. The RB9 isnt any faster then the Ferrari’s or the Mercedes, so they first of all need to get the strategy spot on. Then if they’re lucky, the front runners will get stuck for in traffic for some laps. But that could very well happen to Vettel himself at the very start of the race. I think 4th place could be a realistic target. As for Webber, i don’t think he’ll be able to do a “Vettel at Abu Dhabi”. Expecting him to be in the top8 at best.

    1. @me4me: Vettel tried to set a good timed lap, but had a technical brake problem which caused the overshoot, so he didn’t make the corner and thus he abandoned to set a timed lap. If he had managed to get a P5 or P6 he would have been in a much more favourable position when the soft-runners pit early. The soft-runners who pit early need to be able to overtake some of those they end up behind, or they will be stuck there for longer than they have been in front.

    2. but to me it seems strange what they did in qualifying. It would’ve been better to do and out- and in-lap on the softs, and not use the medium tyre at all.

      It wasn’t planned. VET wanted to do a fast run on mediums and maybe classify 7th. Then he locked up due to brake pedal problem and aborted the lap.

  7. A good start will be important for Vettel. If he leads the prime runners when Ferrari, Lotus, and Mercedes start to peel off into the pits, then he can challenge for the victory. Who knows, with a good start he might even overtake them before their pit stop, in case they start losing a lot of performance as early as lap 2/3.

    However, if he has a poor getaway and gets mired in a midfield battle with Saubers and Force Indias, then it will be difficult to reach the podium.

    1. I think also it is very important for the soft-runners that they are able to overtake some of those intermediate-runners they come out behind after the first pit stop wave. Otherwise they risk getting caught in the last stint, where fuel load is also low and the soft tyres will last longer.

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