Sebastian Vettel says that he is ready to go against the formbook in the Spanish Grand Prix, having qualified on the second row of the grid behind Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
The German, who has never started the Barcelona race from pole position, will have to overcome a lot of history if he is to take his third win of 2013, as 17 of the 22 races at the Circuit de Catalunya have been won from pole, and 20 of 22 from the front row, but, armed with Red Bull's potent RB9 and a stack of the preferred Pirelli tyres, he cut a confident figure during the post-qualifying press conference.
“I think, today, we can be very happy,” he grinned, “Mercedes was too quick, both Lewis and Nico, so I think we can be happy with the result. Tomorrow, hopefully, I can prove statistics wrong.
“I know it's very important to start from the front row [and] we just missed it, but I'm confident for the race. I think this year will be a lot about tyres. I think everybody is suffering quite a lot, so let's see if we can make our strategy work and have a fast race from where we are.”
Part of the world champion's strategy was to only complete one run in the final phase of qualifying, ensuring that he had an extra set for race day.
“The tyres don't last, so the fresher the tyres are, the longer they last,” he explained, “Ideally, they are new, so that's why we decided to save as many sets as we can. Obviously, it's a bit different to other people, but that's the idea behind it. Whether it works or not, we'll know tomorrow.
“It will be a big challenge to look after the tyres and make them last, to try to suffer as little graining as possible. I think we all do suffer, some people more, some people less.”
Despite acknowledging the pace of the two cars ahead of him, Vettel admitted that he would also be checking his mirrors for potential threats to his victory.
“I think [the two Mercedes drivers] had some long runs and they didn't look too bad, [but], historically, the Mercedes is pretty aggressive when it comes to looking after the tyres,” he pointed out, “How that turns out tomorrow, we will have to wait and see.
“Other than that, eye-balling the long runs yesterday, I think Ferrari and Lotus were pretty competitive, so I think we can expect them to be very strong in the race as well...”