Red Bull Racing still needs to bring more to its car than improved qualifying pace if it is going to turn its RB8 into a race winner, reckons World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
Although the German and teammate Mark Webber have enjoyed good form in the three races so far, the team has struggled to extract single-lap performance from the car, which has made its Sundays more difficult. But just lifting itself nearer the front of the grid will not be enough to get Red Bull back to the front, says Vettel, as he suspects the teams needs to find more ultimate speed, too.
"Surely we need something more," he said, when asked if better qualifying performance would be enough to win again. "In the races, for a reason, we get beaten, so it is not as if we have the best racecar and just because of our qualifying position we are not ahead. We are quite a bit away.
"But as I have said many times I believe the potential is there – the car is quick, and once we start putting everything together I think we will feel a bit more comfortable. Then, we should be in a much better position in qualifying and in the race."
Vettel will revert to the most recent exhaust configuration for this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix, after he went back to an earlier specification in China. Although he has openly admitted he has a personal preference for the older version, because he says the car feels less nervous, he accept the newer concept is ultimately better.
"It is a better direction to go, so that is why it is back on the car," he said. "It was a good test for us to have a real back to back and what we introduced back in testing, we didn't have the best two days at the end, so I think that it was why it was a good test."
Vettel is cautious, however, on expecting too much from the car with the revised exhausts – and at a warmer track like Bahrain that should suit its car better.
"Obviously it's a new weekend, a different track, different conditions, and it is quite hot, so we will see. Surely we cannot expect miracles – it is one week since the last race. We hope we can do a step forward in qualifying which seemed to be a little bit of a weakness at that stage, but in terms of race pace we are not that far off. So let's see."