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RB8 capable of title despite tricky opening races - Vettel

ESPNF1 Staff
April 4, 2012 « No reason to leave McLaren - Button | Barrichello backs Massa to return to form »
Sebastian Vettel: "It is still the goal to fight for the title" © Getty Images
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Sebastian Vettel is confident he has a car capable of challenging for the title, despite a difficult start to the season.

After two races Vettel is sixth in the drivers' championship with 18 points for his second place finish in Australia. In Malaysia he looked set for a fourth place finish until he collided with backmarker Narain Karthikeyan and was forced to replace a punctured tyre. Nevertheless, he is confident he'll bounce back at the next two races.

"Of course I would have preferred a slightly better start, but it's a long season," Vettel told Sport Bild. "We have a very good car and I still have a good chance - it is still the goal to fight for the title. Only a few hours ago I was in the simulator, preparing for China and Bahrain. We should hopefully have a few good improvements, but we need to prove that at the tracks."

This year's Pirelli tyres appear to have a narrower operating window and Red Bull consultant Helmet Marko admitted the performance of the car has not been consistent in all conditions.

"It doesn't help if we are the fastest only in certain conditions, rather than consistently," he told Servus TV. "To tell you the truth, at the moment it's almost as though the car decides when it is the fastest, and when it is not."

Had Vettel finished fourth in Malaysia he would have been second in the title chase, level on points with Lewis Hamilton. After the race he hit out at Karthikeyan, calling him an "idiot", but said this week that he is not ashamed of his reaction.

"I lost a solid fourth place so that's obviously disappointing," Vettel said. "Sometimes you let some emotion show and I don't think someone should be ashamed about that. It's part of the sport."

Marko added that Red Bull will be having a word with the slower teams to ensure there is not a repeat of the incident.

"We have told our team manager to talk to both Marussia and Hispania about getting their drivers to simply pay more attention," he said. "They are driving in another league, they're six or eight seconds slower, and so they need to watch out more than they do. They are 12 points Vettel lost that could be crucial in the world championship."

And he defended Vettel's reaction: "You've just been in a race, you've seen the chance of possibly a third place go away - you're naturally upset because he's a human as well. I think we can understand an emotional reaction."