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Vettel plays down impact of new tyres
Sebastian Vettel said the new tyres tested at Silverstone this week have not made much of a difference to the feeling of his car.
Pirelli will start using the tyres, which feature a 2012-style construction and 2013 compounds, from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards and race drivers were invited to this week's Young Driver Test to put the new rubber to the test. After the previous construction suffered several blowouts at the British Grand Prix last month, there were no major issues after three full days of testing at Silverstone in dry conditions.
Several drivers have reported more consistent performance over long runs although peak performance has dropped off compared to the previous tyres. Nevertheless, Vettel said there was not much of a change after an afternoon at the wheel of his Red Bull.
"Not that much of a difference," he said. "First of all we had three days with different drivers in all the different cars and no failures in conditions that were probably worse than at the grand prix. It was even hotter, the asphalt temperature was even higher but there was no big surprise. Obviously we weren't allowed to rebalance the car and try different things so refuelling was probably the biggest change but it was good to get a couple of laps and practice the feeling of driving around Silverstone."
Vettel managed to set the fastest time of the week, 0.078s faster than Daniel Ricciardo's time in the Toro Rosso on Thursday. Ricciardo also tested the Red Bull as part of a trial run for a race drive in 2014 and Vettel was asked whether he would prefer the Toro Rosso driver or front-runner Kimi Raikkonen as his team-mate this year.
"I think it would be a stupid fight if I started commenting too much," he said. "I don't mind either of them, I think I get along with both of them. I probably know Kimi a little bit better than Daniel, but I think he [Ricciardo] did a good job yesterday. All the drivers we had in this week, Antonio Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz, did a good job and kept the car on track. It's not an easy track and it was quite hot as well so I think we can be happy with the result."