Runaway F1 world championship leader Sebastian Vettel has admitted to being unsettled by the revised Silverstone layout, but insists that it should produce more exciting racing than in recent years.
Although the German raced on the 'Arena' layout in 2010, the opening of the new pit and paddock facility between the Club and Abbey corners has made the old opening sequence now a mid-track experience with the relocation of the start-finish line, and Vettel admits that its still feels odd.
"In a way, it's a different circuit," he explained, "Traditionally, I think you were used to starting a lap and then you had a massive corner straight away into Copse and then the first sector – after that it was, you know, to get your head straight again. Now it's different, now you have a quick corner initially, but then a rather slow start to the lap and it just feels wrong when you arrive at Copse and it's halfway round the lap. You exit onto the Hangar Straight then, after the fast section, your lap is nearly over. In the end, you get used to it I guess, but I think there was a lot of tradition on the old layout, the old track. I really liked it. I still like it because I think the character is still there but, of course, you give away some parts to get some new bits."
Even with the addition of the Wellington Straight linking the new section from Abbey back to the Brooklands/Luffield complex, Silverstone has earned a reputation as one of the harder circuits to pass on, but Vettel reckons that, with the availability of both KERS and DRS this season, the action may be spiced up a little.
"We will see," he mused, "I think overtaking is not easy around here, [and] never has been. There is one DRS zone, [and] we will see whether that works or not.
"I think it is really tricky. It is not an easy job to get things right because the distance is based on one track, then it is too easy on another track, it doesn't really help. I think we will know a lot more after we have raced and take that experience into next year but, for this year, every circuit is different. The corners before the DRS zone are very decisive, so we will see. I think we will see some overtaking, definitely more than last year or in the last few years."
Despite being denied pole position for only the second time this season, and again by Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, Vettel still continued his run of front row starts, but admitted that the changing conditions made life difficult for everyone.
"I am happy with the result," he admitted, "I think it is important to qualify on the front row and it wasn't an easy session as Mark touched on. With the conditions changing, it was very easy to go wide or go into the gravel. I am sure, if you had the chance to try again, maybe you could find a sniff here and there but, all in all, it was tight, [with] not much between cars.
"As Mark said, in the end, we can't let go, we have to keep on pushing. That's what the other teams do to catch up and that's what we have to do to maintain our position, otherwise it will change. Sure, it varies from circuit to circuit but we have to keep on working hard."