Four-time world champ breathes easy after his car finishes practice sessions intact
Melbourne: Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel expressed relief yesterday after his troubled Red Bull car survived the first day of the season intact and clocked up a high number of laps.
Sebastian Vettel runs wide during the second practice session in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP
The German ace had feared the worst heading into tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix after mechanical problems in pre-season testing left Red Bull looking under-prepared for the new season.
But Vettel completed 41 laps in the second session, more than any driver and fourth quickest, while his new teammate Daniel Ricciardo put in 38 and timed sixth.
Team chief Christian Horner said yesterday's workload equated to one-third of the mileage covered in winter testing, a performance that will have eased tensions in the Red Bull garage.
"In a way it's a relief today, the fact that we were running, we didn't have any problems, the balance was good and the performance looked all right," Vettel said.
"In the end Friday times are not worth a lot, but it's better to be close to the top rather than somewhere towards the back, so I'm very happy with that. We will do what we can to prepare for tomorrow and Sunday, but let's see where we are then — the most important thing is that we finish."
Mercedes in top gear
The 26-year-old's best lap was 0.756secs behind pace-setter Lewis Hamilton who was the fastest on the day, ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.