Mark Webber © Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Mark Webber reckons he and team-mate Sebastian Vettel will both steal set-up ideas from each other after they drove radically different cars in free practice ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix…

In a bid to take the fight to front-running McLaren in Shanghai Vettel today drove an RB8 fitted with the exhaust layout that featured on the car in pre-season testing, while Webber drove the latest spec of the car. Afterwards, Webber reckoned that cross-referencing the data could provide Red Bull Racing with a step forward.

“I was pretty happy today,” said Webber. “We got through a lot of information, which was good, as we were a bit worried about the weather. It was a good opportunity to check a lot of things and it gives us a bit of focus, having done the comparison across the cars. There are changes in concept and how the cars work on different parts of the lap and now we need to go through all that tonight. We might have to rob a bit from each other’s strengths and weaknesses and feed that into the mix.”

“Is it a step forward? Well, you come here from Malaysia where the track is 50 degrees and it’s a lot cooler, so the car always feels a bit better because you have quite a high grip track compared to Malaysia. But in general I’d say we’re going along OK,” Webber added. “We gained a little short run pace and we’ll look at the long run pace. It’s very close at the front. Whether we’re on the front (row in qualifying)… I think it will need a big lap.”

Vettel, meanwhile, said he felt more comfortable with the older spec RB8. “I think overall we can be quite happy,” he said. “We tried a lot of things today, so now we need to go through all of them and see what is the best set-up we can come up with. I think I felt a bit more comfortable today, a bit more together.

“I don’t know yet [if I will continue with this spec]. It’s not the only thing we tried. Obviously, it’s the biggest thing we tried today, but we had a look at some other stuff as well. Mark did as well, so now we need to compare the two across cars and see what’s the best package to come up with. It’s a bit tricky to say now. I think it looked competitive, fairly close, but I think McLaren are still quick in all conditions and all fuel loads.” 

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