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Tyres the cause of Red Bull's lack of race pace
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said Red Bull's surprising lack of race pace was due to an inability to make the tyres last in the Australian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel took a dominant pole position ahead of Mark Webber on Sunday morning, leading to expectations that Red Bull would secure an easy victory in the race. Vettel streaked away on the opening lap but from then on was pegged back by the Ferraris and Kimi Raikkonen, eventually finishing third behind Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.
Horner admitted that Red Bull expected to be quicker but when asked where the speed went in the race he replied: "One simple word: tyres.
"We just weren't in any optimum window with the tyres. For whatever reason - the conditions and so on - we were just a bit out on set-up or whatever on the tyre for these conditions. It was apparent from about lap four or five; Seb got a good start, built up the lead that we wanted and then it was quite clear that the car was pretty heavy on the tyre. That forced us to then go down the route of a three-stop and when you run in to traffic that puts more stress in to the tyre.
"I think probably the conditions were a significant factor and we were just out of the window, so all things considered third place is actually a very, very good result. Kimi was the only driver/car combination that could make a two-stop really work and it was quite obvious from about half distance that was what they were doing. Just to emphasise that point he did fastest lap on a tyre that was older than we could have dreamt going anywhere near. I think we've learnt an awful lot and hopefully it won't be quite as chilly next weekend."
However, Horner was still keen to take the positives out of the race weekend, saying the Australian Grand Prix would not be a true indicator for the rest of the season and that Red Bull is in good shape.
"The really positive things are that we've come here, we've got a quick car, we've qualified on pole, we've been out of the window in the race - which is ironic because 12 months ago we struggled to qualify but were very soft on the tyre in the race - RB9 is a competitive car and I think we're only going to get a true picture of form after about four or five races when we've been to different venues, different tracks, different asphalt surfaces. Then we'll get a true picture of form but it's been a very positive weekend for us."
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