Yeongam, South Korea, Oct 15, 2011 (AFP) - Sebastian Vettel said Saturday he was confident his Red Bull team's tyre strategy would give them a vital edge in the Korean Grand Prix, despite missing out on pole position.
The newly-crowned double world champion will start Sunday's race second on the grid behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who ended Red Bull's run of 15 successive poles with a brilliant performance in Saturday qualifying.
The German ace -- who was on pole for the last five grands prix -- said he was not too disappointed that Red Bull's domination of the prime starting spot had come to an end.
"To be honest I think McLaren was very, very competitive yesterday," Vettel said.
"I know conditions were completely different, but you can see they were a fair chunk ahead of everyone else -- as well as this morning in the dry.
"Once again, we pushed them very, very hard in qualifying and got very close, closer than probably they expected and closer than we expected so we did a very good job in qualifying."
Red Bull used a set of "super-softs" in the first section of qualifying to keep a fresh set of soft tyres back for the race, a move which Vettel thinks will prove to be a big advantage.
"We saved all our prime tyres which will be crucial tomorrow. It's not a long way down to the first corner and turn three is a little bit exposed," he said.
"It's a long race, lots of things can happen. Tyre wear is crucial -- and Jenson did a good race last race -- so that will be important tomorrow. We have to see."
Red Bull team-mate Australian Mark Webber said: "We just wanted to get through - that's it. We need to look after the tyres and it should be an interesting race."