• Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying

'Anything' possible from ninth - Vettel

ESPN Staff
April 13, 2013 « Webber excluded for lack of fuel sample | McLaren planned slow timed lap - Button »
Sebastian Vettel will start the race from ninth on the grid © Sutton Images
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Sebastian Vettel believes "anything" is possible from his ninth place grid position at the Chinese Grand Prix after he prioritised his race strategy over qualifying.

Vettel opted not to set a time in the top-ten shootout, giving him free choice of tyre compound at the start of the race. With the soft tyre expected to last for just six or seven laps before a switch to mediums offers more grip, starting the race on the more durable mediums could offer an opportunity to skip to the front of the pack early in the race.

Asked what was possible from his position, Vettel said: "Anything, I hope. It's quite interesting because obviously the soft tyres don't last that long. We saw that yesterday for everyone, they were great on one lap but after that they were not that nice.

"The medium tyre seems a better race tyre and is lasting quite long. We have the possibility to still choose because we didn't set a lap time this afternoon, but I think it's pretty clear what we tried to achieve this afternoon."

Vettel said Red Bull had realised earlier in the session that fighting for pole was not possible and so decided to take a different strategy.

"I think we saw that some people are very fast, especially the Mercedes and the Ferraris, but Q2 wasn't too bad and we were able to split the Ferraris," he said. "They were very competitive all weekend on the soft, it was a different story on the hard, and we decided obviously to go a different direction and whether that works or not we will see tomorrow."

Vettel did go out on track on both soft and medium tyres but came back to the pits before setting a time. On his medium tyre run he locked up and ran wide at turn 14 when a fast lap would have given him a chance of starting ahead of Jenson Button's McLaren, which did set a time on the medium tyres and will start from eighth.

"I lost the brake pressure and the pedal was very long," he explained. "I'm not that tall so I didn't have enough leg to keep on braking! No, I think there was something broken and it was quite tricky because the car didn't stop when the corner was coming. I locked a tyre but there is no damage because there was very little load on the car. We'll see but it doesn't affect tomorrow."