Vettel admits Melbourne will be a struggle

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Sebastian Vettel isn’t making excuses ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, as he expects Red Bull to struggle given the preseason testing woes.

“It became obvious at the first test that there was an issue as I spent more time in the pits than on the track,” Vettel explained, via a Q&A on the official Formula One website. “That is when you understand that you cannot turn a blind eye to the situation.”

There were some ruminations Vettel might be publicly unhappy with the situation, but with his resolve already being tested, the four-time defending World Champion has already taken on a mature stance.

“Just because we’ve done so exceptionally well in previous seasons it doesn’t mean that those seasons were a walk in the park,” he said. “Coming into this season we knew that there is no such thing as a guarantee on winning, so right now it is not that huge a shock for us as it might be for people on the outside.”

Finishing the race may be the ultimate goal, with anything more than that a bonus. Still, Vettel denied the opportunity to make any proclamations ahead of the weekend.

“We even don’t know the speed of the car,” he said. “In the tests we struggled with reliability so we have very little idea about the speed. This race will be about seeing where we are, so any expectation is difficult to say.”

Video highlights from Sunday’s Dakar Rally Stage 8: Bikes, Cars, Quads, Trucks

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Sunday’s Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally brought the race into the final country it will compete in, Argentina.

Monday’s Stage 9 was cancelled after bad weather made course conditions impassible for racing. Stage 10 picks up Tuesday morning. The overall Rally ends Saturday.

Here’s some of Sunday’s key video highlights:

BIKES

Antoine Meo wins Stage 8.

QUADS 

Simon Vitse wins Stage 8.

CARS

Stephane Peterhansel wins Stage 8.

TRUCKS

Dmitry Sotnikov wins Stage 8.