Christian Horner says Sebastian Vettel has struggled to match team-mate Daniel Ricciardo so far this season due to issues with the Pirelli tyres.
Vettel was notoriously strong at getting the most out of the Pirellis relative to previous team-mate Mark Webber, but has finished behind Ricciardo in both races that the two Red Bulls have seen the chequered flag. With Ricciardo putting 20 seconds between himself and Vettel in the second half of the Chinese Grand Prix, Horner admitted Vettel was not comfortable with the RB10 and it was hurting how he uses the tyres.
“Sebastian is having a tough time at the moment because he hasn't got that feeling from the car that he's looking for,” Horner said. “He's tremendously sensitive to certain aspects of the set-up that he's not getting the feedback from the car that he wants, and then the compound effect of that is he's damaging the tyre more.
“Which is very unusual for Seb as we've seen since Pirellis were introduced; it's highly unusual for him to be going through the tyre life quicker than the average. I think that's just a culmination of the issues that he's currently got and as soon as we've worked those out I'm sure he will be back with a bang.”
Asked if there were any other reasons for the gap between Vettel and Ricciardo, Horner said it was a case of one struggling and one excelling.
“I think that he's just going through the tyre quicker, the tyre is opening up quicker with him because he's not found that sweet spot that he requires. Whereas Daniel, as we saw on Friday had extremely good tyre degradation and did so again [in the race].”