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Vettel happy with alternative strategy

Apr 13, 2013, 7:00 AM EST

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Sebastian Vettel may not have challenged for pole position during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, but the German driver is happy with the decision to save his tires.

Vettel failed to set a time in Q3, allowing him to pick which tire he will start on for the race tomorrow, and the defending world champion is likely to start on the harder compound.

“It’s a long race tomorrow, it’s a tough circuit on tires, we know that,” he said in an interview.

“We learned a little bit yesterday. We decided to go opposite to the majority, whether that’s the right decision we’ll know tomorrow.”

The majority of the teams have been struggling with their tires so far this weekend, so Vettel’s decision could see him challenge for the win despite starting down in 9th.

“We know the tires are not great, and obviously that makes you think, and sometimes come up with a different approach.

“The majority of cars were out on the soft tire, which is the qualifying tire, so even if we finished the lap we don’t have a fair chance to match them.”

Vettel will be the highest starting Red Bull tomorrow following Mark Webber’s Q2 stoppage. The Australian provisionally starts 14th on the grid, although he may be subject to a penalty.

  1. chaparral2f - Apr 13, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Given how bad the supersofts are, Vettel and Button may be sitting in the catbird’s seat. While the others come in early to pit, those two will be able to stay out for a much longer stint. And, with a gap, should be able to pit later in the race for the softer tires. Normally, I would be concerned about Seb starting 9th as starting so far back can be catastrophic for any driver. But, given the severe tire degradation and heat, this strategy might have been the best one.

    • apexassassin - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:08 AM

      I wouldn’t risk the softs late in the race after Sutil in Melbourne… these Softs are shredding worse than the Super Softs in Oz.

      If I were p9-p12 and it was my call, I’d opt for new Softs. You’d have an immediate advantage over p1-p7 who have used softs and JB in p8 on heat cycled Mediums. Plus by lap 4 or 5 the guys who started on used Softs will really be struggling while a fresher set could be .5 to a full second quicker… even if they didn’t stay out longer, they’d be faster during that first stint…

      though that long back straight can make up for a lot with the DRS and proper gearing.

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