Vettel warns tyre wear could ruin race
SEPANG, Malaysia (AFP) –
Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel warned disintegrating tyres could ruin his Malaysian Grand Prix after some worrying signs during free practice on Friday.
Vettel, gunning for his fourth straight world title, said he didn’t know if Red Bull would be able to stick to their planned pitstop strategy after his tyres quickly fell apart on the Sepang circuit.
“I don’t know how they could do this,” fumed the 25-year-old. “I hope we have enough tyres to survive the race.
“You don’t have to be a genius to know that if it stays dry on Sunday everything is about the tyres. We’re still struggling with them, but everybody else is, too.”
Much debate has centred on the Pirelli tyres, new for this season and supplied to all teams, which are designed to wear out quickly to force more pitstops and make races more exciting.
Kimi Raikkonen’s victory in last week’s Australian Grand Prix was attributed in large part to his ability to conserve his tyres and complete the race after just two pitstops, compared to his rivals’ three.
Vettel qualified in pole position in Melbourne but he finished the race third. He is bidding to join Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as only the third driver to win four world titles in a row, and become the youngest to achieve the feat.