Vettel feels RB9 is ‘a step up’

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Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel believes that his new car, the RB9,  is “a step up” from its predecessor that took him to a third title last season.

“What is important is that the car is relaible and works well and the speed seems to be there too. We have a little more grip in the fast corners, this was striking right form the outset. I think it’s a step up form the RB8.”

In an interview with in-house publication The Red Bulletin, Vettel also spoke about the new Pirelli tires for 2013, although he did admit that little would be confirmed until the first practice session in Melbourne.

“We had certain expectations [of the tires], also partly based on the data we have been receiving from Pirelli. These expectations appear to be confirmed, but we won’t know until Melbourne.

“I think that the quicker lap times at the tests can be attributed to the new car as well as the Pirelli tires.”

Vettel was also asked about his driving style, as throughout his career he is yet to suffer a major accident.

“You should always have respect. That has never changed.”

Red Bull struggled to perform in winter testing, finishing as the seventh quickest team at the final test in Barcelona. Harking back to last season, the team will know that a slow start could lead to a highly-impressive tail end of the season, but Vettel will still be hoping to take the win in Australia.

Simon Pagenaud has words with Gabby Chaves after Honda Indy GP of Alabama

Photos: IndyCar
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The rain didn’t stop following the conclusion of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, and neither did the jousting between drivers.

An angry Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud confronted Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves after the race, complaining that Chaves would not let Pagenaud get past him in the closing laps.

Instead of ending up with a hoped-for Top 5, Pagenaud wound up with a ninth-place finish. Chaves, meanwhile, finished 17th, two laps down.

The confrontation turned into a battle of words and profanity between the two drivers, as captured on Twitter by AutoWeek’s Matt Weaver.

Afterward – and after their tempers cooled down somewhat – both Pagenaud and Chaves gave their sides of the confrontation to NBCSN.

Gabby Chaves

First, here’s Pagenaud’s take on things:

“We had a really good race going,” Pagenaud said. “I think we potentially could have been top 5. I was really frustrated with Gabby. He was two laps down and I was stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying to do everything I could to make it happen.

“It’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you want to have everybody on your side when you have a good day. At the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. It’s a real shame.”

When asked what exactly he said to Chaves, Pagenaud demurred.

“Driver’s stuff,” he said with a slight smile. “We’ve all been there. I’ve been in his position. My side, I played it smart. It is what it is.

“I can’t comment for him. You can ask him the question. I’m not going to make a deal about it, it’s just a shame it ruined my race. We’ll come back stronger. It’s Indy soon, so that’ll put a smile on my face.”

NBCSN then caught up with Chaves for his side of the story.

 

“It’s a tough situation, we had to restart (the rain-delayed race) a lap down,” Chaves said. “Our whole strategy depends on trying to get a yellow and holding our position. Some guys think that the track belongs only to them, they’re the only guys on-track.

“Everyone else who was faster at that point – we were only one lap down to the leader, so we’re still on our strategy and don’t know what’s going to happen – as soon as they got right up next to me on the lead lap, I let them go.

“Simon was the only one who couldn’t drive up to me. I understand his frustration, but he’s the one who has to save fuel to make his strategy work, that’s not our fault, right?”

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