Sebastian Vettel insists Red Bull’s low position in Free Practice today was due to most of the cars ahead running aggressive fuel loads, and not due to a lack of raw speed.

Last year’s Pole and Race winner did the least laps in both sessions combined, in an effort to conserve his remaining allocation of engines for the season. Team-mate Mark Webber also completed less laps than most, after suffering an electrical failure midway through second practice. Webber ended the session 14th, and Vettel was even slower, down in 18th position, only ahead of Button and Fisichella.

Despite the somewhat lacklustre performance, Vettel was still adamant it was not down to the car being slow in general.

“It’s quite a surprise today to look at the lap times and see who is on top and who’s in the midfield.”

“Nothing is wrong for us and everything went to plan – we knew we faced a difficult Friday with limited mileage due to the small number of engines I have left until the end of the season. We used the laps we had available today and it seemed to go okay.

“We still have to improve, so we’ll now look to see who was fast and who was playing with fuel loads. At this stage it seems impossible to predict who will be on top.”

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