Wrong tyre strategy gamble cost Red Bull at Hungaroring
30 July, 2012
Jul.30 (F1 Media) Both Red Bull drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, admitted that poor strategy decisions hampered their chances in the Hungarian Grand Prix in which the reigning world champion finished fourth and his team-mate came home eighth, still enough to keep the energy drinks team top of the constructors championship standings, but disappointing for its drivers.
Starting from third on the grid, Vettel made an attempt to go round the outside of second-placed Romain Grosjean at the start but, forced wide, he had to allow Jenson Button to sneak through on the inside and dropped to fourth.
Vettel then spent the first two stints bottled up behind the McLaren and only managed to get free when the McLaren driver made his second stop. Button then emerged behind the slower Bruno Senna. That gave Vettel the chance to maximise his pace and when he too took on fresh tyres he emerged ahead of Button.
Later in the race, Vettel pitted for a new set of soft tyres in a bid to catch Romain Grosjean. After the stop he lapped more than two seconds quicker than the third-placed Lotus driver but couldn’t make up the 13.5-second gap before the chequered flag.
“I think fourth is probably not the result we could have had today,” Vettel said. “The speed was a little bit better than that, but I was stuck behind Jenson, who was quite slow. There we lost quite a lot of time, but you can’t just pit and come out in clean air. Other people weren’t that much slower either, so not much we could have done.”
Webber, meanwhile, climbed as high as fifth after an 11th-place start and he too stopped for more tyres at the end, fearing that the set he had on might degrade too badly in the final laps.
“Fifth place was there. I was thinking of staying out, obviously we had a nice cushion, my times were going pretty well,” he said. “But it’s hard to know, we’ve had plenty of incidents this year where people have dropped off the cliff.”
“The strategy didn’t work out,” admitted the straight talking Aussie. “We lost three places through trying something different. Overtaking’s very difficult, so you need bad tyres for the other guys and also in the last sector so you can line them up. I was quicker but I couldn’t get the job done.”
Fernando Alonso’s fifth-place finish means that the Ferrari driver extends his lead over Webber to 40 points, with the Spaniard sitting on 164 points. Vettel lies third on 122 points and Hamilton moves to fourth on 117 points. Kimi Raikkonen is fifth with 116 points.
Despite the gap to Alonso widening, Webber believes the title race is still wide open.
“We’ve got work to do. We’ve had a little bit of friendly fire with ourselves and qualifying here was down to me. But we still have good points and it’s still open for the rest of the year. Obviously Fernando grabbed a few more today but that’s the way it goes,” said Webber.
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