• Second Bahrain Test - Day Four

Bigger problems than pace - Vettel

ESPN Staff
March 2, 2014 « Pirelli announces compound choices for early races | F1 fans won't be alienated - Domenicali »
Sebastian Vettel with aero paint on the side of his Red Bull © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel hinted that the RB10's performance is not currently Red Bull's biggest concern after a frustrating pre-season came to an end.

Much has been made of Red Bull's struggles in Jerez and the two Bahrain tests, though Vettel completed the final day with a personal haul of 77 laps. He finished Sunday seventh on the timesheets, though Lewis Hamilton is among a handful of drivers to suggest Red Bull's RB10 is quicker than it has looked in pre-season, largely based on a 20 lap high-fuel run by Daniel Ricciardo on Friday night.

While acknowledging his team are unlikely to be a front-runner in Melbourne, Vettel insists mileage is the team's biggest concern.

"We are [far from the top], that's not a secret," Vettel said. "We cannot do the times that the guys at the top are doing, for various reasons. At the moment we have much bigger problems than just the pace. I'm happy we did a lot of laps, there's a lot of things we learned. Still we need more laps, which we would love to get, but testing is over. We will have to do more laps Down Under.

"I'm not calling ourselves the favourites, we haven't done enough laps and the speed is not there compared to some other teams. We have to wait and see what we get there. I think things will calm down once we use the two weeks we have to fit new parts to the car and build it to the best polish that we currently have."

Vettel believes the new generation of F1 cars and engines has made it harder than ever to truly predict the pecking order for 2014.

"It's difficult [to judge] because in the running we have done there are so many different options to run this year. Not just whether you are on fresh or used tyres, or full or low fuel. Now from the engine you have full power, half power, little-bit power, so it's impossible to say where we are. Car-wise we learned today because we did more laps, but we know we have to catch up."

Red Bull recently played down news reports Vettel had thrown a "hissy fit" in Jerez at the state of the RB10, but he admits the state of the car has been tough on the team at times over the three tests so far.

"Everybody is fine at the moment. It's a bloody difficult time because it's a difficult car to work on."

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