• Bahrain Grand Prix

Vettel expecting strong Ferrari challenge

ESPN Staff
April 18, 2013 « Strategy might not save McLaren in Bahrain | Red Bull still strongest - Alonso »
Sebastian Vettel: "I think there is a couple of things we can do better working with the tyres" © Getty Images
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Sebastian Vettel expects Ferrari to be "very strong again" at this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso comfortably won the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend as Vettel finished just outside the podium positions in fourth place. Despite crashing out of the race in Malaysia, Alonso sits just nine points behind Vettel after a strong second place in Australia and Vettel says he will be surprised if Ferrari is not fighting for victory again this weekend.

"Certainly they do a good job on Sunday," Vettel said. "If you take those three races - in Malaysia they had only one car in the race - but it was pretty clear already in Australia that they seem to work well with the tyres and therefore have a very strong pace on Sunday. So I don't expect any difference here; I expect them to be very strong again, but obviously we are not looking too much at others. First of all we try to look after ourselves and I think there is a couple of things we can do better working with the tyres - trying to get more range and more pace out of them - and then we go from there."

With Pirelli's tyres having been a major talking point all season and Helmut Marko even claiming Red Bull is being hurt by the amount of downforce it has on its car, Vettel was keen to stress the team is not complaining about the tyre situation although he feels he has to drive below the RB9's potential.

"I think in China to be fair we weren't quick enough. Also on one lap in qualifying we weren't quick enough to really challenge for pole position therefore fairly early we decided on a different strategy. For sure with these tyres I think if you look in particular in the race you have to focus more on managing the tyres and achieving a certain lap target to make them last. You can't really push lap-by-lap, so you always have to drive under the car and under the tyres in order to make your strategy work. To be fair it has been the case a little bit last year as well but surely it's a bit more extreme again this year.

"We spend a lot of time and a lot of money to make the cars as quick as possible but as racing is these days we are tyre-limited more than anything, but again to point it out it's the same for everyone. If you look at the last couple of races then there were a couple of people who did a better job than us, so it's not a complaint."