Despite his superior performance early in the weekend, Sebastian Vettel does not consider himself the favourite for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The German set the pace throughout free practice on Friday, but had to settle for second place on the grid after Lewis Hamilton pulled out a qualifying lap just four-hundredths quicker. While the Mercedes is not expected to be as kind on its tyres as the Red Bull, however, both drivers have the spectre of Romain Grosjean's Lotus looming in third spot. The Frenchman was also fast through practice, and his E21 is reckoned to be best of all when it comes to making its rubber last.
“We know that the Lotus usually is very good with its tyres, exceptional to everybody else,” Vettel remarked, “I think we are in a good position too though, so we will see. At the moment, as Romain said, Lewis is leading the pack and we go from there.
“The race is long, the first corner is only a small part of it, so we will see what happens at the start and, after that, it could be all different. It's a long way to go, 70 laps, and it's going to be hot, so I think it will be tough for drivers, but also for the cars in terms of cooling. I think we're all on the limit.
“Tyres will be important, but I think we are confident, as confident as we can be. How strong the Lotus will be, I don't know. On the long runs, they don't look anything special, but we saw the same at Nurburgring on the Friday….”
The Hungarian Grand Prix is another race yet to be ticked off Vettel's list when it comes to standing on the top step but, having finally broken his duck on home soil, the German is optimistic that he can add another venue to his haul – even if he is not necessarily looking forward to the trophy victory would bring!
“I'm not that young anymore but, hopefully, I've got a couple of years left so I'm not in a rush,” he smiled after taking a front row spot for the tenth round of 2013, “Obviously it's a very nice race, with a lot of fans coming, especially from Austria, to support our team.
“[It]'s a great atmosphere and it would be very nice to win here, [but] it's a shame that they don't have the nice, traditional, trophy any more. Instead, we get this six-legged dog as the trophy the last couple of years...”