Sebastian Vettel remains hopeful that Red Bull Racing did the right thing in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix by deliberately saving tires.
With the German realizing early on that he did not have the pace to fight for pole position, Vettel elected to conserve rubber in the final qualifying segment by not completing a flying lap. Although that decision means that Vettel starts down in seventh on the grid – having gained one place from Lewis Hamilton's demotion to the back of the grid – he sees positives from the situation.
"I think it is never easy to come back to the front when you start behind, but we thought we were smarter to try to save some tires," explained the champion. "I think a new set of tires does give you some flexibility in the race and it will give you a bit of speed, so we will see if we can use that in the race."
The speed differential between the soft and hard-compound rubber, allied to different degradation scales, means that strategy choices remain quite open for the race. Vettel thinks that the tire call is not straightforward, and that changeable weather conditions on Sunday could turn the formbook on its head too.
"I think everyone has a lot of homework to do," he said. "But I am pretty happy with the car. This has been our best weekend so far with consistency, but going into qualifying we didn't have the grip to get the maximum out of the tire."