RBR duo seeking improvements
Champions' three-stop strategies failed to move drivers up the order
Last Updated: 29/07/12 6:48pm
Vettel - It could have been different
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have admitted Red Bull need to focus on improving certain areas of their car's performance in wake of a disappointing Hungarian Grand Prix in which the team's strategy gambles failed to pay off.
The World Champions finished in only fourth and eighth places after ultimately adopting three-stop strategies for both of their drivers - a decision which, while not costing Vettel a position, dropped Webber behind three cars to eighth place at the flag.
Tough race for Red Bull
Vettel spent the first stint following Jenson Button - the McLaren driver having passed him on the first lap - and then for most of the remainder of the race Romain Grosjean, and was overheard urging his team "to do something" to try and move him up the order ahead of Button with overtaking on the track proving nearly impossible.
With ten laps remaining Red Bull chose to roll the strategy dice and bring the German in for a further pit-stop for a set of new soft tyres, but despite racing back up to Grosjean again, Vettel ran out of laps to make an impression on the Frenchman before the chequered flag.
Asked by Sky Sports F1's Natalie Pinkham if he regretted making that additional stop given he had pitted while already on the Lotus's tail, Vettel replied: "No, I think a two-stop would not have changed anything. [I was] just following Romain around [so] trying to do something different at the end I think was the right thing.
"[It was] marginal coming out ahead of Fernando [Alonso], but it was good. It could have been a different story if their tyres had fallen off, but didn't happen, so I think we did everything we could from a strategy point of view.
Hungary GP - Race in 60 seconds
"Obviously lost a little bit too much in the first corner in particular to Jenson, who was very slow, and then we lost too much time to the guys in front."
With championship leader Alonso finishing one place behind, fourth place was nonetheless enough for Vettel to claw two points back on the Spaniard in the title race - his deficit now standing at 42 points with nine races to go.
But while welcoming the solid points haul, Vettel was more concerned with some flaws in Red Bull's armoury.
"Yeah, it's useful, we take it but surely it's not as satisfying as winning," he said. "I think the car's speed is not so bad in the race but we need to have better starts and a better first lap."
Webber, meanwhile, acknowledged his third stop had backfired after he slipped behind Alonso, Button and the Williams of Bruno Senna having worked his way up to fifth from 11th on the grid.
"We were hoping people would be in a bit more trouble at the end with the tyres - that's where we lost the three positions," said the Australian, who dropped six more points to Alonso.
Ted's Hungarian Notebook
"So fifth place was there. Thinking of staying out - obviously we had a nice cushion, lap times were going pretty well - but it's always hard to know, we've had plenty of instances this year when people drop off the cliff [with their tyres].
"In the end strategy didn't really work out, we lost three places trying something different, and also overtaking's very difficult so you need bad tyres for the other tyres and also in the last sector [as speed advantage] so you can line them up.
"I was quicker but couldn't get the job done."
He concurred with his team-mate that Red Bull had to find more performance and eliminate mistakes all round.
"We've got work to do, we've had a little bit of friendly fire with ourselves," Webber reflected. "Yesterday was down to me in qualy but we still have good points and it's still open for the rest of the year. Obviously Fernando grabbed a few more today..."