• Chinese Grand Prix

Vettel highlights RB8's weaknesses after tough race

ESPNF1 Staff
April 15, 2012 « Button rues slow pit stop | Massa 'a bit more happy' in 13th »
Sebastian Vettel lost places to Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber towards the end of the race © Sutton Images
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Sebastian Vettel has targeted qualifying pace and straight-line speed as areas for improvement for Red Bull after he finished fifth at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Vettel started from 11th on the grid and dropped to 15th from the start before moving back through the field on a two-stop strategy. Six laps from the end he was running as high as second before his tyres dropped away and he lost three places to the McLarens and team-mate Mark Webber. On his slowing-down lap he complained of tyre degradation and a lack of top speed over the radio.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the race he added: "Obviously qualifying was poor and we know we have a couple of weaknesses, one was the speed on the straight and the other one was actually that the car is not yet working the way we want it to be."

Vettel finished behind team-mate Mark Webber, who was running a different exhaust system all weekend after Vettel reverted to an old system from testing. Red Bull are expected to develop the system on Webber's car over the rest of the season but Vettel, who prefers the balance of the car on the old version, said it was a close call between the two.

"It was an interesting weekend, we collected a lot of data on different cars but ended up more or less in the same place [fourth and fifth], which was pretty funny. I think both packages have their advantages but for next week we will see what we do."

Vettel added that he was pleased to salvage 10 points after starting outside the top ten.

"I think it was a good recovery but I was a long time on those tyres at the end and too long because the last five laps were really difficult," he added. "It was obvious that I would struggle to keep position and I had to give way to Jenson [Button] and Lewis [Hamilton] and then Mark [Webber] at the end. Nevertheless I think we can be happy with fifth.

"We were only P15 at the end of the first lap so all-in-all an interesting race. I don't think there was much overtaking, the best one I had was against Kimi [Raikkonen] but I had to force it. I was hoping that he would just sneak back into the chain behind me and hold up other people but unfortunately he lost track position as well and then it was easy for the McLarens, on ten-lap fresher tyres, to get past."