The mystery of Sebastien Vettel's loss of pace at the Bahrain Grand Prix, and then recovery at the finish, continued to percolate, with McLaren boss Ron Dennis among sources suggesting the Red Bull Racing driver had slowed down to avoid running out of fuel before the finish. With enough fuel saved, according to the theory, he was then able to pick up his pace in the closing laps to prevent being passed by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.
Red Bull originally claimed Vettel had experienced an exhaust problem on his car, but later clarified that his Renault engine had developed a problem with a spark plug. However, a Spanish newspaper reported last week that Vettel simply slowed to prevent running out of fuel. Dennis indicated that report might be correct, in his view.
"The lap times dropped so rapidly that one can imagine the electronic control unit (ECU) switching to a conservative program to save fuel," Dennis told Germany's Express newspaper.