Tire woes stop Vettel from challenging for win

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Sebastian Vettel has lamented his tires for preventing him from challenging Kimi Raikkonen for victory at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

“We had a good day today with a pole and a podium – but in the race we were a little too aggressive with the tires and lost the front and the rears, while others did a little better.”

Having taken pole position in qualifying, Vettel’s rear tires were evidently worn as he sat on the grid, but he managed a good start to stay in the lead ahead of Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

However, as the race wore on, Vettel was hindered by two-stopping Adrian Sutil which caused the defending champion to be too aggressive on his tires. After losing out to Alonso in the second round of stops, Vettel could not reclaim the position as his Pirellis became increasingly difficult to work with. He did not hide his disappointment about finishing third, but the German driver looked to take the positives from the weekend.

“I think you’re always a little disappointed when you start first and don’t finish first, but overall it was a good weekend for us. We didn’t see Kimi on the track, he was too quick and Fernando jumped us at a vulnerable time – but we can be happy with third.”

Teammate Mark Webber started alongside Vettel on the front row, but following a poor start he finished down in sixth place. Red Bull will be disappointed not to have continued their end-of-2012 form in Australia, but there are signs of pace in the RB9.

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Recapping the 2018 Dakar Rally with “best of” video highlights

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

As it has done so for four decades, the 40th annual Dakar Rally – the most grueling test of man and machine anywhere – produced a number of surprise finishes and also several disappointments for drivers or riders who were expected to do well in the nearly 5,600-mile trek that began in Peru and continued through Bolivia and ending in Argentina.

NBCSN has aired highlights from all 14 stages (actually 13, because one stage was completely rained out) during the Rally’s two-week run, which concluded Saturday.

Here’s some of the “best of” highlights from the overall Rally highlights, followed by a quick guide that gives you wrapups to all 14 stages.

So, without further adieu, here’s NBCSN’s “best of” the 2018 Dakar Rally:

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of cars

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of bikes

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of trucks

2018 Dakar Rally: Best of quads

Lastly, here’s a day-by-day wrapup of how the Rally played out.

MORE: Dakar Rally daily stages schedule, NBCSN broadcast schedule, list of all competitors.

MORE: Stage 14 overall Rally wrapup

MORE: Stage 13 wrapup

MORE: Stage 12 wrapup

MORE: Stage 11 wrapup

MORE: Stage 10 wrapup

MORE: Stage 9 cancelled due to weather, impassible course conditions

MORE: Stage 8 wrapup

MORE: Stage 7 wrapup

MORE: Stage 6 wrapup

MORE: Stage 5 wrapup

MORE: Stage 4 wrapup

MORE: Stage 3 wrapup

MORE: Stage 2 wrapup

MORE: Stage 1 wrapup