Vettel says tires “aren’t working properly”

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Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel has criticized the 2013 Pirelli tires following a difficult day in Barcelona during the second test.

The Red Bull driver made his feelings abundantly clear to the team at the end of the session, finishing over a second behind Romain Grosjean down in fourth.

“The tires aren’t really working properly and I think everybody is suffering the same problem, struggling to make the tires last for more than a lap.”

He did however concede that some of the teams may be suffering less than Red Bull.

“It’s difficult to compare things you are testing and also to compare yourself to others.”

Pirelli have opted to supply the teams with more aggressive tires in 2013, meaning that drivers will have to be careful to make sure they do not burn them out too quickly. The move came about following criticism that too many races were seeing only one pit stop, especially in the races towards the end of 2012.

Vettel also revealed that he struggled in the changeable conditions today, with the Circuit de Catalunya experiencing unusually high winds.

“I didn’t do that many laps today, but to be honest the weather wasn’t great and it was a pretty rough day in terms of the wind.”

This was a sentiment race engineering co-ordinator Andy Damerum supported.

“Once again the weather was the main inhibitor today. This morning the conditions weren’t great, so it was a bit of a slow start for everyone.

“In the afternoon we were able to move on to dry tyres, but the wind was quite strong at times and just as with Mark yesterday, that didn’t make life easy for Seb.”

He did appear more optimistic for tomorrow’s session, when conditions are expected to improve in north-eastern Spain.

“The weather is supposed to be much better tomorrow with a balmy 14 degrees forecast, so hopefully Mark will get a smooth run on his last day of testing.”

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.

Results are below. The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama rolls off at 3:00 p.m. ET.