Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel has predicted that there will probably be a similar amount of pit stops this weekend in Spain as in the other races this year, despite the fact Pirelli has a brought a new hard tyre to the Circuit de Catalunya.
“You could see today that tyres are suffering quite a bit more than in Bahrain,” Vettel told ESPNF1
. “Probably Bahrain is a bit more spread in terms of energy whereas here the left side is struggling for everyone. It will be difficult to take care of the tyres in the race and right now difficult to predict how many times we have to stop.
“It's difficult to say a lot about the new hard tyre [too], we didn't expect a miracle and as it turned out I don't think there is a massive difference. We'll see how it works out on Sunday but I don't think it makes a massive difference in terms of changing the race. We will see a similar amount of pit stops as at other races.”
Vettel was quickest on Friday in practice, just edging out Fernando Alonso, but despite that he remains cautious about the weekend ahead.
“In terms of pace we are there or there abouts with the top guys,” he continued. “It is always better to be near the top of the times sheets on Friday even if we can't tell where everybody is.
“We didn't have that many new parts [for this weekend]. I think the times of big upgrades when you see a whole new car are now over; we don't have that room in the regulations anymore even though we wish we could. Overall, however, we can be happy with today even if this morning was a waste of time in those [weather] conditions. This afternoon [in the dry] was fairly conclusive.”
Team-mate, Mark Webber meanwhile ended the day third overall, just 0.083 seconds off the sister car.
“It looks reasonably tight. We couldn't have got more out of it today really, the weather made things a bit tricky, but it was a pretty good day overall.
“We had a few things to test this morning which we had to move to the afternoon when the weather was better – but it was okay,” added the Aussie.