15 March 2013
Red Bull basks in trouble-free, fast first day
Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber finished comfortably ahead on the timesheets, and the new RB9 is looking ominously strong in Melbourne.
Last year it took Red Bull some time to get up to race-winning performance, but if the first practice sessions of the 2013 F1 season at Albert Park, Melbourne are anything to go by then this year could be a whole different story.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of the day in the later session with a best lap of 1:25.908s, while his team mate Mark Webber had the second fastest time of the day after a run clocking in at 1:26.172s.
"Overall it was a good day for us," smiled Vettel after the end of three hours of track time in air temperatures of around 22C, much warmer than anything the drivers had enjoyed in pre-season testing in Spain. "It was pretty seamless and there was no trouble with the car."
"It was nice to have a bit of sun on the circuit after Barcelona, where we had pretty overcast conditions," agreed Webber, happy to be kicking off the new season on home turf in Australia. "It was not a bad day and we got through plenty of information."
The drivers were enjoying the glorious sunny conditions while they could, with forecasts looking less positive for Saturday.
"We still have a huge amount to go through tonight and we're expecting a bit of overcast stuff tomorrow, so we need to be ready for that," explained Webber. "We had to correlate a lot of information from Europe and that went pretty well," he added.
"The weather should be quite changeable tomorrow, and as we can't predict how much that will impact the tyres and car balance we need to be ready to change things," Vettel added.
With the cold conditions at Barcelona having led all the teams to worry about excessive tyre degradation, it was a relief to all concerned that in the warmer Australian conditions the medium compound tyres were actually lasting over 20 laps before needing to be swapped out.
"The soft tyre doesn't last too long, but the harder tyre is a decent race tyre," agreed Vettel, who was happy to be back in action after the long offseason. "After all the mileage of testing, it was fun to be out there – this circuit doesn't get easier, it's a good challenge."
But neither driver was taking anything for granted in terms of how the rest of the weekend would go for them.
"Today was a good day and the balance was good, but we need to be ready for what's coming up," cautioned Vettel.
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