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Dublin: 13°C Sunday 16 May 2021

Vettel admits lack of confidence at Red Bull

It might give you wings but the Red Bull team have endured a shaky start to the championship.

Red Bull Racing's German driver Sebastian Vettel.
Red Bull Racing's German driver Sebastian Vettel.
Image: DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

FORMULA ONE WORLD champion Sebastian Vettel says Red Bull have lost confidence after failing to match last season’s dominance early in 2012.

The start of the F1 campaign has been the most competitive for 29 years, with all four races so far producing a different winner from a different team. Although Vettel’s victory in Bahrain last Sunday takes him top of the drivers’ standings, he already appears to face stiffer competition than in 2011.

He won three of the first four races last term, eventually taking 11 of 19 Grands Prix in total, and would go on to win his second successive driver’s championship by a margin of 122 points.

Vettel is in front by just four points, this term, with 10 points separating the top five drivers. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton is second, a point ahead of Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber, who is yet to finish on the podium this season.

Former world champions Jenson Button (McLaren) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) are level on points in fourth and fifth spot respectively.

“This year we’d have loved to be in a better place to start. Nevertheless, I think we’ve had good races,” Vettel said. ”But it is tight and we’re not as confident as we used to be, so small things can make a difference in qualifying and have a big impact on the race.

“The faster you go on Saturday, the easier the race is on Sunday.”

The teams now enter a crucial period as they prepare for testing sessions next week in Mugello, Italy. It is the first time they have been allowed to test during a season since 2008.

The leading teams will be expected to use the opportunity to improve their cars in time for the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

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