April 19th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Red Bull have reason to be confident ahead of Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix, after Webber and Vettel finished second and third in Free Practice 2 this afternoon. The Red Bulls were quick on both tyre compounds, which bodes well for qualifying and the race.
The BBC's Gary Anderson noticed that Red Bull mechanics were cutting away bits of bodywork on their cars during the second session, something that was also done last weekend in China. While it seems odd that the team would be making rough changes to the bodywork of the cars during a race weekend, the pace suggests that the modifications are working.
Last weekend's race was characterised by errors and interesting strategies for the World Champion team. Webber ended up at the back of the field after being short-fueled in qualifying, while Vettel started on the harder prime tyres and very nearly made it to the podium with a late charge on option tyres. This weekend is likely to be more conventional for Red Bull, and their pace suggests that they should have both cars scoring significant points and could challenge for victory.
This is what the drivers had to say after Friday practice:
Mark Webber: “I would have liked to have got some more running in P2, but I still think we learned what we expected today. Saturdays are perhaps becoming less important overall than they used to be, but they’re still important in terms of traffic. You don’t want to be in too much traffic on Sunday, as the tyres don’t like being disturbed and wear more which will shorten your first stint – so you still need to be in a good position. We still have areas to improve on the car. Lotus and Ferrari look strong and Mercedes is there too.”
Sebastian Vettel: “It’s pretty close. If you look at the opposition then Ferrari and Lotus were strong today and I think it will be close in qualifying. It’s important to work with the tyres around the track. I wasn’t so happy with my short runs today – but that’s why we have the Friday practice sessions I guess; I was happier with the longer runs. The tyres still seem to be the dominating factor. The car seems quick, so we have to make sure we use that and then we should be on the right page.”