Sebastian Vettel believes his Red Bull Racing team will have to raise its game in order to fight with McLaren and Ferrari during this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.
The German, who endured his worst race of the season in the previous grand prix in Germany – where he was fourth – finished down in fifth position in today's second practice, over half a second behind pacesetter Lewis Hamilton. Vettel, the dominant winner of last year's race in Hungary, believes Red Bull will need to take a step forward in order to fight at the top this weekend.
"It was pretty slippery at the beginning, but later on I felt OK in the car but I think it is not like last year," said Vettel.
"It seems to be very tight. McLaren and Ferrari are very quick so I think we need to raise our game to make sure that we will find ourselves at the top as well."
The World Champion admitted managing the tires this weekend will not be easy given the track conditions and the fact that Pirelli has opted for its softest compounds.
"Obviously, I just got out of the car so we need to see what the others did, how long the tires actually last. The most important thing to look out for is managing the tires for one lap but equally trying to get everything out of the tires for the whole stint and not have them fall apart too quickly. It will be a tough one."
Teammate Mark Webber was fourth quickest after recovering from a crash in the morning session, the Australian losing control of his car and making contact with the barriers. Webber admitted the accident had been his fault.
"It was my mistake. I ran across the curb – which has been there for a few years. Drivers still don't learn – we just go out there and push.
"I clipped the [artificial] turf and hit the barrier but, fortunately, it was only the nose that was damaged. We recovered pretty well this afternoon and got a lot of mileage in. The car ran well. Obviously, it is a pretty tricky venue with tires, so there's lots of information to go through."