• Spanish Grand Prix - FP2

New hard tyre won't alter racing - Vettel

ESPN Staff
May 10, 2013 « Teams approve January testing from 2014 | Mercedes off the pace of front runners - Hamilton »
Sebastian Vettel: "You could see today that tyres are suffering quite a bit more than in Bahrain" © Getty Images
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Sebastian Vettel believes Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix will still be dominated by tyre management after testing Pirelli's new hard compound during Friday practice.

Vettel set the fastest time of the first two practice sessions, clocking his best time on the medium tyre in second practice. Pirelli has brought a new hard compound that is supposed to be more durable like last year's, but Vettel said the tyres are still taking a pounding around the Circuit de Catalunya.

"You could see today that tyres are suffering quite a bit more than in Bahrain," he said. "Probably Bahrain is a bit more spread in terms of energy whereas here the left side is struggling for everyone. It will be difficult to take care of the tyres in the race and right now difficult to predict how many times we have to stop.

"It's difficult to say a lot about the new hard tyre, we didn't expect a miracle and as it turned out I don't think there is a massive difference. We'll see how it works out on Sunday but I don't think it makes a massive difference in terms of changing the race completely. We will see a similar amount of pit stops as at other races."

Vettel is confident Red Bull will be on the pace this weekend but said it was too early to judge the exact pecking order.

"In terms of pace we are there or there abouts with the top guys," Vettel said. "It is always better to be near the top of the times sheets on Friday even if we can't tell where everybody is.

"To be honest we didn't have that many new parts. I think the times of big upgrades when you see a whole new car are now over; we don't have that room in the regulations anymore even though we wish we could. Overall we can be happy with today even if this morning was a waste of time in those conditions. This afternoon was fairly conclusive."