They might have wound up at the head of the timing screens once again – or first and third, at least – but Red Bull Racing pairing Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were keeping their cards close to their chest at the end of the opening day of practice ahead of the German Grand Prix, suggesting they have 'a bit of work to do'.
Both Webber and Vettel have extra-special reason to be keen to triumph this weekend. In what will be the tenth race of the F1 2011 World Championship campaign, the Australian knows he needs
to finally tally a victory now to stop his team-mate's runaway momentum in its tracks and begin making some inroads into his current 80-point deficit in the title standings. What's more, Webber's breakthrough triumph in the top flight came at the Nürburgring two years ago.
Vettel, for his part, palpably does not need to win, such is his crushing advantage over all of his adversaries in his pursuit of a second consecutive drivers' crown this season – but how much would it mean to the 24-year-old to mount the top step of the rostrum in front of his adoring home fans for the first time? In order for either driver to do so, however, they will first need to stave off a resurgent Fernando Alonso – quickest in FP1 – and the ever-present McLaren-Mercedes threat. Hence, they conclude, 'work to do'.
“So far, so good,” mused Webber, who turned the tables on Alonso in the afternoon FP2 session to end Friday on top to the tune of just under two tenths of a second. “The car feels pretty good here. Fernando and Seb are really quick as well, though, and you never know when McLaren might turn up tomorrow, too.
“I haven't been watching them too much today; we've been concentrating on ourselves and trying to improve the car with each run – that's the most important thing we can do. It's nice if it stays dry, as it's a bit easier to manage, but whatever tomorrow throws at us, we should be ready for it. I'm feeling comfortable so far.”
“It was cold out there today!” quipped Vettel, third-fastest in both sessions, and just under four tenths shy of Webber at the close. “It was good fun. The circuit was quite slippery with the low temperatures, but we did a lot of laps and the car seems okay, although I'm not 100 per cent happy yet.
“We'll see what happens tomorrow, but at this stage, we've got a bit of work to do. Ferrari looks very competitive, McLaren is a bit harder to judge, but we will see. We don't know the conditions for tomorrow; rain is forecast, but it depends on when or if it will come.”