Red Bull has poured cold water on expectations the reigning back to back world champions could be set to resume their reign over Formula One.
After a victory drought spanning the opening three races of the 2012 season, Red Bull broke through with Sebastian Vettel’s familiar win-from-pole triumph in Bahrain last weekend. It means he has leapt to the top of the drivers’ standings, while the Milton Keynes based team is now 9 points clear of its nearest rival, McLaren.
“King Sebastian is back!” exclaimed the authoritative Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport after Bahrain. “Vettel and Red Bull dominated like old times.
“They have worked hard in recent weeks to have a great car again, so it will be difficult once again to take the throne from Sebastian.”
The energy drink-owned camp, however, is not so bullish.
“To predict our performance in Bahrain just a week after what happened in China would have been tricky,” said team boss Christian Horner, referring to Vettel’s fifth place in Shanghai. “I am sure that with 16 races to go, we are going to see a lot more variation.”
24-year-old Vettel agrees that, despite the familiar pole-and-victory in Bahrain, 2012 is not the same as 2011, when the RB7 car utterly dominated F1.
“We’re not as confident as we used to be,” he is quoted by the Sun newspaper, “so small things can make a difference in qualifying and have a big impact on the race. We’ve only had four races but I’m not entirely happy with where we are.”
Vettel will be back in action next week, when F1 moves to the Mugello circuit in central Italy for a rare in-season test.
“In Italy we’ll be able to test and evaluate a lot of things and get the car in a happier place for Barcelona,” he said.