Red Bull hope for Sunday service
Red Bull remain hopeful that they can rescue a profitable Sunday after their lack of straight-line pace put the World Champs in debt during qualifying at Monza.
Last Updated: 08/09/12 6:31pm
Red Bull remain hopeful that they can rescue a profitable Sunday after their lack of straight-line pace put the World Champions in debt once again during qualifying at Monza.
The Bulls have struggled throughout the weekend so far, with neither Sebastian Vettel nor Mark Webber able to disguise the RB8's relative shortcomings around a circuit which puts a priority on power.
With only the HRTs proving slower than the Red Bulls through the speed trap towards the end of the start-finish straight, Christian Horner revealed in the build-up to qualifying on Sky Sports F1 that the team were hoping for a third-row grid slot - a placement that Vettel duly secured.
"Sebastian delivered a very good lap in Q3, to line up in sixth, which will become fifth for the starting grid [due to Paul di Resta's grid demotion]. Hopefully our race pace will be stronger than we've shown today and we can take the fight to the cars ahead of us. It's a fairly unique track," the Red Bull boss said after the session's culmination.
But could the Bulls have surpassed their own expectations? Vettel, who had earlier suffered an alternator failure in FP3, seemed satisfied to line up between the two Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.
"My last lap should have been a bit quicker, but whether it would have made a difference or not is hard to say. If you look from us to the front, the gaps are too big. All weekend we were not quick enough, so P5 is a very good place to be," Sebastian said. "Let's see what we can do in the race, I think the pace tomorrow should be better."
The defending World Champion also suffered an alternator failure when leading June's European Grand Prix in Valencia. Although surprised the problem had resurfaced, Vettel was optimistic it would not happen again in the race.
"At the moment, it's not clear why it happened. It's very difficult to react because you obviously just put a spare alternator in the car and you go again," he said.
"But I'm reasonably confident that with the mileage we've done so far, we shouldn't have any trouble and we should be fine tomorrow."
Saturday's disappointing qualifying session was the second in as many weeks for Red Bull, whose cars also lacked single-lap pace at Spa.
Both Vettel and Webber made headway in the Belgian Grand Prix, though, with the Australian hoping for more of the same after failing to reach the top-ten shoot-out at Monza by a tenth of a second.
"It's pretty much what we expected today," Webber said. "Seb and I were on the bubble there; it was very close between us - there's only a tenth here and there and I'm out. No massive surprises. I'm eleventh, so we can have a bit of a choice on what we can do tonight, but I'd rather be further up the grid. We've got a bit of a slog tomorrow; but it's Monza so never say never.
"We need to improve qualifying - we know that. Everybody's asking 'what's the problem?' Well, if we knew the problem, we'd fix it.
"In the previous years, it (qualifying) was a very big part of our armoury. And at the moment we need to improve on it, clearly, because there's no point in us having strong Sundays when we're always recovering.
"We should do a bit better tomorrow, relative. On Friday, we looked a bit nicer on fuel; with the fuel off, it was a bit hard for us."