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Is Vettel cracking under pressure?

The inter-team battle at World Champions Red Bull is every bit as fascinating as the one at McLaren these days. Just when we thought Mark Webber would drift into the twilight of his career, and Sebastian Vettel would dominate the field on his way to a third successive championship, Formula One has given us something to be grateful for, an off the pace Red Bull.

One blotch on Vettelís near perfect copy book is, perhaps, his temperament when things arenít going his way. The opening three weekends have been erratic from the German to say the least. In Australia he drove superbly to second place, while in Malaysia he inexcusably lost his cool with HRTís Narain Karthikeyan in a 50-50 incident. Vettelís supposed calm demeanour when facing the public is one of his trademarks, so everyone in F1 lifted an eye brow or two when they saw him describe the Indian as a ďCucumberĒ. Last weekend in China he qualified 11th, four places behind Webber. A bold team strategy saw him come home in 5th.

Vettelís team mate Webber hasnít found the going as tough. The Aussie has three 4th place finishes, and lies just nine points off the championship lead, and has out qualified Vettel in all three races so far, a world away from what we saw last season. Vettel seems to be feeling the heat far more than any other driver and the notion that Vettel struggles when not at the front, is starting to gain speed. The German is looking for instant solutions, firstly changing back to the original exhaust system in China last week, and this week in Bahrain he has changed back again. After just three races, is he showing impatience already?

If you compare the approaches of Vettel and Ferrariís Fernando Alonso you see huge differences. Vettel seems agitated, impatient and desperate to get the car back to the front, and you can be sure that he is cracking the whip behind closed doors. Fernando Alonso on the other hand is cool and calm, and not too worried about the predicament his team find themselves in. He will also be cracking the whip behind the scenes, but he isnít publically rattled like his German counterpart.

A good race for Vettel in Bahrain is needed, a solid podium to wave away the doubts by some of his suspect temperament, and his right to be at the very front of F1. All eyes will be on Vettel, while his team mate carries on with battering an eye lid. Webber looks comfortable in the car, unlike last year, and will prove to be very difficult for Seb to beat. Maybe the Aussie doesnít get as much recognition from the double champion as he should, but Mark is definitely a god bet for the championship. A solid start to the season is what he lacked last year, and the Red Bull will improve race by race. Within a month or two, expect them to be serious challenges for the race win.

This is a big test for young Vettel, if he wants to have a hope of winning the title he has to cope far better than he has done so far.

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The Journalist

Writer: Charlie Bennett Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday April 20 2012

Time: 2:00PM

Your Comments

To suggest Vettel is cracking under pressure is a little bit silly after just three races. Mr. Newey will soon have the team cars back on the pace, its what he's brilliant at.
Was I right, or was I right. Pole is a good response.

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