Red Bull: It wasn’t a bad feeling for the first day

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel

Drivers and team report from the first day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, Round 17 of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship, at Yas Marina Circuit.

Sebastian Vettel:

  • First Practice Session: Position: 3, Best Time: 1:44.499, Laps: 18
  • Second Practice Session: Position: 1, Best Time: 1:41.335, Laps: 35

“It’s difficult to say today how we compare to the others, we know [that] the Lotus is quick here, but we also had decent pace today. It’s not always so easy at this circuit with the conditions changing throughout the day; we start in the sun and finish at night and the track temperature changes during that time. But, no big issues, so I’m pretty happy.”

Mark Webber:

  • First Practice Session: Position: 4, Best Time: 1:44.712, Laps: 20
  • Second Practice Session: Position: 2, Best Time: 1:41.490, Laps: 32

“The second session today was more representative of the race and qualifying than the first, due to the time of day and temperatures. It was a lot about the tyres today; I think the Soft tyre will hold out better here than it did [in India]. It wasn’t a bad feeling for the first day, we got the information we needed, so let’s see how we get on tomorrow. We’ll go through everything tonight and try to understand the car on both tyre compounds.”

Pressure Points

From the outside it might seem that all the stress of a race weekend funnels towards the race start, but the truth is that moments of intense pressure strike different team members at different times. This race, Team Manager Jonathan Wheatley explains that for him the pressure is most acute in the moments just before a pit stop…

“The period leading up to any pit stop is always very stressful – there’s a lot of talk happening on the radio, a lot of strategy discussion going on and so forth. I call the pit stop and the 30 seconds before the car comes in get pretty tense. Once the stop is underway, it’s out of your hands. A little bit like a football manager, when you put your team on the pitch you can’t do any more about it. The guys are incredibly professional and they train well. In the few moments before the stop you’ve got a load of different things to think about. You’re making sure you’ve got the crew in position, making sure they know exactly what’s happening during that stop, that they’re prepared to make the correct adjustments to the car and that they’ve got the right tyres! That’s when it really gets tense.

“When that decision is made, your attention is almost totally on that moment. Of course, you have to keep an ear out for what’s happening on track as well as you might have the other within five seconds and you might decide to bring both in, or that may be the strategic decision. You can’t afford to miss anything.”

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