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Vettel doubts he can pull off a repeat win over Mercedes as Chinese GP weekend kicks off

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Vettel doubts he can pull off a repeat win over Mercedes as Chinese GP weekend kicks off
Apr 9, 2015, 8:24 AM

Malaysian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel has played down expectations of a repeat victory this weekend in Shanghai, with cooler conditions expe...

Malaysian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel has played down expectations of a repeat victory this weekend in Shanghai, with cooler conditions expected to return Mercedes to its position as pace setters.

Vettel and Ferrari took advantage of Mercedes' difficulties with making the tyres last in extreme hot conditions and capitalised on their decision to pit early behind the Safety Car to gain track position and then retain it by making one fewer pit stop than the Silver Arrows.

However with temperatures due to be lower this weekend, tyre degradation is not expected to be as high, however the front tyres struggle in Shanghai because the car spends a proportionally significant amount of time turning, especially through Turn One and Turn 13, which are long and drawn-out; Turn One being a 270 degree, tightening corner. This overstresses the left front tyre and this is the limiting factor in any strategy plan.

Ferrari will feature again in races where the decision is finely balanced between strategies; between two and three stops, for example, where they will be able to do one less stop and save around 23 seconds as a result.

Vettel

Vettel returned to Ferrari's Maranello base after the Sepang win, but said that his main target was to confirm the car's increased competitiveness on a different tyre of circuit and conditions, but does expect the Mercedes to overcome its problems, "We are realistic about where we are, the targets haven't changed," said the four time champion. "Obviously it was a great win in Malaysia, an emotional day. And to come back to the factory in Maranello and to see everyone was very special. Their team hasn't won for a while. It was nice for them to get that feeling again. We had a lunch together.

"When you win with Ferrari, they put a flag at the entrance gates. This will stay there for the rest of the year and we will try to put another one up there sometime soon.

"But Mercedes is in a strong position. The (Ferrari) pace was for real two weeks ago, Mercedes didn't back off. But there were circumstances coming together. For here and for the next races things can be up and down, we want to ensure that there is more up than down.

"We did a great job in Malaysia, but here and for the next races we have to be realistic. We need to establish we are the team right behind Mercedes and to ensure that the gap gets closer and closer to them."

Vettel was asked about how he feels to be one win short of Ayrton Senna's total of 41 wins,

"I wasn't aware of that," said Vettel. "It's very special, it took me a while to win number 40. It would mean a lot for any driver. It's not really fair compared to the guys in the past, as we have 19 or 20 races a year now."

For an insight into the Strategy Considerations for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix click here Chinese GP Infographic

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel Shop Now
Teams Ferrari Shop Now