Sebastian Vettel mystified by Red Bull's lack of single-lap pace in Practice at Monaco

Reigning World Champion ends Thursday just ninth fastest

By Pete Gill.   Last Updated: 23/05/13 8:21pm

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Vettel: Just ninth fastest

Vettel: Just ninth fastest

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Sebastian Vettel has admitted Red Bull are short of one-lap speed ahead of Saturday's all-important qualifying hour at Monaco.

Not only was the three-times title winner unable to keep pace with the two dominant Mercedes cars of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton during Thursday's practice sessions, but the end-of-day timesheets found Vettel as low as ninth.

With grid position critical around the tight and twisty Monte Carlo circuit, and overtaking usually close to impossible on race day, Vettel knows his team have plenty of ground to recover.

"My run on super-soft was very poor and we need to understand why," the reigning champion told reporters at the close of Thursday's running. "I wasn't able to improve and we should be able to quite easily so we need to have a look.

"We'd like to be more competitive in low-fuel configuration, so we need to try and find some lap time there."

However, while the Red Bull struggled to extract single-lap pace, the RB9 continues to look competitive on long runs, with Vettel suffering minimal drop-off time on the twelve-lap stint he ran on soft tyres at the end of Practice Two.

Meanwhile, Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber was reasonably satisfied with his running, although the Australian admitted that the team would start qualifying on the back foot.

Asked if he could have matched Mercedes' blistering table-topping time, Webber told Sky Sports F1: "If we could, we would have done it today. But last year we were not really in the window until my last lap in Q3.

"I think traditionally we're never too electric here on Thursday's, so today was actually one of the better ones we've had in the last few years. There are some quick cars out there; we've seen that on Saturday at the last few GPs. All in all, a reasonably smooth day for us, we've got plenty to go through now."

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