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Massa puzzled by Red Bull's race pace

Wednesday 20-March-2013 10:59

Felipe Massa says it is "impossible to explain" why Red Bull failed to convert their qualifying pace into dominant display in Australia.

Sebastian Vettel was unbeatable the dry practice sessions at Albert Park on Friday and unsurprisingly claimed pole position with team-mate Mark Webber starting next to him on the grid.

However, the RB9's much vaunted pace wasn't visible on race day and triple World Champion Vettel had to settle for third behind race winner Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso while Webber was down in sixth place.

Massa, who finished fourth at Melbourne, says it was bemusing to see Red Bull struggle for pace come the race.

"I have no idea how to explain it," the Brazilian is quoted as saying by Autosport.

"If you look at last year, they had an incredible car in qualifying, and in the races it was still incredible, but less so.

"The year before, the same. It is the way they build the car.

"Since 2007 we've never really had the most incredible car in qualifying. The race was always better than qualifying and this is just the direction of our car. Why? It is impossible to explain."

Lotus and Raikkonen made the most of Red Bull's struggles as they won the race on the back of a two-stop strategy compared to their rivals' three stops.

Massa, though, warns it is too early in the season to draw conclusions.

"There were a lot of surprises in this race," he said. "With our car it was impossible to do two stops. Kimi could do two stops and that was a fantastic job," he said.

"We need to wait for a couple of different tracks because maybe one car will work in one direction on one track for degradation, and maybe it will work differently on another track.

"Lotus has stayed in a good direction with the tyres [in Australia] and this made a big difference."

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