Sebastian Vettel has said that Red Bull Racing needs to work hard if he is to retain his F1 world championship title, but cites consistency, rather than performance, as the biggest problem to be tackled.
The German finished a frustrated fourth in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, unable to challenge for the podium after finding himself stuck behind Jenson Button for much of the first and second stints, but admitted that the RB8 does not lack for pace [see story here
]. Instead, he lamented the apparent lack of continuity from event to event, having taken second on the road in his home grand prix a week ago and been on the way to a crushing victory before alternator failure in Valencia. As well as winning in Bahrain, the German has just two further podium appearances to his name this season - having been stripped of second at Hockenheim - with a string of fourth, fifth and sixths the best of the rest.
"I think that the speed is definitely there, but the consistency is probably our sore spot," Vettel told the official F1 website, "The only thing that really will help is working, working, working."
Having been vaulted past Button at the second round of stops, undercutting the Briton after he had stopped four laps earlier, Vettel was able to close on third-placed Romain Grosjean but, with overtaking proving typically tricky at the Hungaroring, agreed to a change of strategy in the hope that pitting for fresh tyres for the denouement
would give him an advantage over those choosing to run to the end on older rubber.
"All strategy games start with the position you're in after the first lap - to decide about the first stint," he revealed, "Of course, it is frustrating to know that you can go faster but have no chance to pass, but that's the way it goes sometimes. We tried something and it could have come our way. Unfortunately for us, it didn't, but at least we tried. It was the reasoning that, maybe, others will run into tyre trouble in the last few laps. But that didn't happen...."
Vettel could not hide his frustration at failing to make serious inroads into championship leader Fernando Alonso's points lead either, even though he closed to within two points of team-mate Mark Webber's second place. The German is now 42 points behind Alonso with nine races remaining, but second through fifth are split by a mere eight points as the 2012 season continues to mix up its results.
"We sit in the car for one-and-a-half hours, race at the limit, it is hot as hell, and then you sit in traffic and know that you cannot get airborne to get into a better position," he sighed, "All you can do then is to stay focused. And, of course, if you know that you've been fighting for every inch and it didn't pay off, that is a bit frustrating. [Fourth] was our maximum. in the situation we've been in."