Vettel: No alarm over Red Bull pace (VIDEO)

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Sebastian Vettel says he isn’t concerned about Red Bull’s performance despite a disappointing result in the first race of the season.

Vettel put his Red Bull RB9 on pole position for the Australian Grand Prix but fell to third place at the checkered flag. He was over 22 seconds behind winner Kimi Raikkonen.

“I don’t think you can take this race as a reference because the circuit is too different,” he said after the race.

The Albert Park circuit in Melbourne is a temporary venue with few high-speed corners, unlike most of the other circuits on the calendar.

Vettel also shrugged off questions whether the strong aerodynamic performance of the RB9, which makes it so strong over a single lap in qualifying, was harming its tires during the race:

“I think we are still very competitive but I think there’s a lot more to it than just the raw downforce level. You could argue that with more downforce you go faster, you’re asking more of the tires, all of those things, but I think overall there’s a certain trend where some cars seem to work pretty well in some conditions.

“As Kimi touched on today, he was struggling with front tires; I think for us it was more evened out. We had both axles running away from us. I’m not sure about the Ferraris but looking at their tires during running, it looked pretty similar to us, so especially at the end of the stints.”

Hear more from Vettel in the post-race video interview with him above.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

Audi Sport
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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”