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Vettel frets over engines, as his rivals fret over his pace 28 Aug 2009

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Thursday, 27 August 2009 Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn Grand Prix.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Thursday, 27 August 2009 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Thursday, 27 August 2009 Toyota practice pit stops.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Preparations, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Thursday, 27 August 2009

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was being cautious on Thursday about Red Bull’s prospects here at Spa, but both series leader Jenson Button, and Hungarian Grand Prix winner and world champion Lewis Hamilton believe that the RB5 will fly on a circuit that will flatter its capability in very high-speed corners.

“I think Spa should suit our car more than Valencia, but at the end of the day we have to find out,” Vettel said. “Just by the layout, the speed of the corners, I think it favours our car, but we still need to see how quick we are. I hope we are extremely quick. I hope the weather will be according to what we need and according to our liking.

“If that means rain, then it is rain. If it is dry, then it is dry. We will see. But, for sure, looking at the championship we are in the hunting position, so we have to win races and score big points, so our target for this weekend is to win and I think it looks good so far. We haven’t done a single lap, so we need to find out.”

His engine problems in Valencia have made his quest for the title a little harder.

“Well, we need to see," he responded to questions about the repercussions of the two failures he has experienced so far, which have eaten into his permitted allocation of engines. “Obviously it is not a good thing. Last weekend having two failures within two days was not a good thing. Surely it affects the programme for the rest of the season.

“The last thing we want is to take a penalty, so the question now is what can we do? We are considering now all our options and possibly this means less running for myself on a Friday, so less practice which for sure is not an advantage. But at the end of the day do you want to take a grid penalty, yes or no, and I think you know maybe it is better to have a bit of time off and take some coffee in the break rather than starting 10 places back at some race, so we will see. But for sure from now onwards we cannot have any mistakes or failures again.”

Brawn GP’s Button said he didn’t think the reduction in track time would in any way help his rival, but while Vettel was considering caution, the Briton was talking of being more aggressive. But he defended his decision to back off for Vettel in the first corner in Valencia.

“If a guy is coming across on you and you can see that if you don’t back off he is going to take off your front wing, you back off," the man who won six of the seven opening races said. “Why would you want to drop back with a pit stop?”

As people played up some possible bad feeling between the two over the incident, which ruined Button’s race and kept him down to a seventh place finish while team mate Rubens Barrichello won and neither Red Bull scored points, Button said: “Part of the problem is the way the cars are. There’s a huge blind spot. And at the end of the day we are racing…”

Vettel said his problems have not affected his resolve to win the championship. “I think it is still possible. I am not giving up, definitely not. For sure 25 points is not easy but we have seen how quickly things can change. Also I think one thing that extremely helps is that Jenson has not been very consistent the last races.

“He hasn’t scored a lot of points. I don’t know what was wrong but in the end it helps us. We should have been scoring some points the last few races, we did not, so that doesn’t help but for the future it still remains open. We will push and we will fight. We are in the hunting position, so we will have to score big points.

“As for the thing with Jenson, I haven’t heard about it. I think we are here to race. Maybe I have to talk to him later if it was a problem for him. As I said, we try to race, we try to defend our position, so there’s not much more to say. I started on the dirty side and I knew that at the first and especially second corner it would be crucial to be on the inside and on the clean side, so I tried to get to the inside as early as possible. I think it was fine, so for me I don’t think there was any problem, but maybe I have to talk to Jenson later.”

David Tremayne