Sebastian Vettel says he expects things to be tight amongst the front-runners in the Chinese Grand Prix even though the defending champion insists he doesn't know how competitive Red Bull will be on race day.
Vettel, who goes into the weekend looking to bounce back from his failure to score in Malaysia, ended Friday practice third quickest behind Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, with the top three covered by less than two-tenths of a second.
“It is tight between the cars,” Vettel admitted. “I haven't seen everything, but I think overall we can be quite happy. We tried a lot of things today and now we need to go through everything and see what the best set-up is. If you look at the car, you can see a big difference compared to the set-up we used for Malaysia, but driving it's hard to say, as I don't have a comparison to this track. It's cooler here than at the last two races; I felt more comfortable, but we'll see. It's tricky to say if we look competitive. McLaren look good in all conditions.”
Team-mate Mark Webber was just behind Vettel in fourth place and the Australian also said he felt Red Bull is making good forward progress as it seeks to challenge for a first win of the year.
“The sessions were mixed in terms of weather, but we were able to get some good information,” he said. “We managed to run slick tyres this morning between showers and this afternoon we did a few long and short runs, so we're learning a lot quickly, which is important on a Friday.
“We've got a lot of stuff to go through tonight and will continue to find out more tomorrow and on Sunday. We've come from a track that's 50˚C to a cooler circuit, so we have more grip here which helps, but I think overall that we're moving in the right direction.”