VETTEL ‘BACK IN THE GROOVE’ WITH 102 LAPS IN THE RB9
After two days with Mark Webber at the wheel of the Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB9, today it was Sebastian Vettel’s turn to get acquainted with the new car. The triple world champion wasted no time in exploring its potential and set the day’s third-quickest time, with a lap of 1:19.052. After 102 laps Sebastian said it had been good to get behind the wheel again after the winter break.
“So far, I think we can be pretty happy,” he said. “Mark had a good couple of days to start with and I took over today. It was great to get back in the car, to get rid of the rust and to get back in the groove again. The first feeling is good and the car is working well. It’s difficult to judge the speed, but in terms of reliability it looks pretty good. For today we accomplished what we set out to achieve – which was to put a lot of laps on the car.
“At this stage it’s very difficult to judge anything else,” he added. “It could be that there is a favourite after these three tests, but it could turn out to be completely different in Australia because it’s a different track with different characteristics. I expect the Championship to be at least as tight as last year, as the regulations haven’t changed so much.
“In terms of the times, it’s always nice to be on top, but if there’s one phase of the year where it matters least, it’s here. Now is the time to do our homework. It’s good for us to do a lot of laps, to see that the car is working well and we’ll go from there.”
Race Engineering Co-ordinator Andy Damerum commented: “Obviously today was Sebastian’s first chance to drive the RB9 and, as with Mark, the car behaved well. We were a little delayed getting out this morning because of a few changes we wanted to make, but it didn’t hamper progress and another 102 laps is very respectable. Today was about carrying on the work of the past two days, evolving the car and how it’s performing. We worked on set-up in the morning, did some aero work in the afternoon and also put in some longer runs to check durability and to continue assessing the tyres. Tomorrow, it’ll hopefully be more of the same.”