Sebastian Vettel upbeat despite
WORLD champion Sebastian Vettel remained upbeat on Friday despite trailing his rivals in opening practice for the year’s first race, the Australian Grand Prix.
Defending double world champion Vettel, 24, finished an unpredictable day at Albert Park rain-swept in 10th place, one ahead of his team mate, local Australian hero Mark Webber. The day finished with seven-time champion Michael Schumacher topping the times for a resurgent Mercedes team, albeit after McLaren’s Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton clocked the day’s fastest times in drier morning conditions. Vettel said he struggled with his car’s handling in the morning, finishing down in 11th position when Webber was fifth, but he was happier with his afternoon form. The rain, however, meant little consistent running was possible. Vettel managed 19 laps in the second session. He said: “Maybe we did not get everything we needed but we can be quite happy in the end. This morning, it was not very good. I wasn’t happy at all in the car. “But this afternoon was better but with the conditions it is difficult to get a lot of running.
It’s more or less the same for all of us. “The little time we had in the afternoon was quite OK. It’s up to us to find the balance and understand the car a bit more on these conditions on this circuit, and hopefully go a lot quicker tomorrow. “The important thing now is to make a step overnight and go from there.
Track time is important when the car is still young.” Webber said: “It’s the same for everyone and we just have to get on with it. I feel we can do more and we are competitive. So I am hopeful — let’s see where we get to tomorrow and take it from there.” Vettel dominated last season and he now has the chance to join Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio as only the third man to win three Formula One championships in a row.