MANAMA, April 20, 2013 (AFP) - World championship leader German Sebastian Vettel expects Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix to be decided by strategic decisions and the management of tyre wear.
Just as in China last weekend, when the race was decided by similar factors, Vettel said he felt confident that by saving tyres he and Red Bull were in with a chance of more success.
The three-time defending world champion finished second in Saturday's qualifying session, two-tenths of a second behind his fellow-German Nico Rosberg of Mercedes.
He said: "I'm definitely not disappointed. Congratulations to Nico, he did a very strong lap. It was all his today... And when I crossed the line I saw I didn't go first, saw second place on the screen and did not know how much was missing because my lap was fine.
"When I got told the gap to P1 and Nico, it was clear that even with a perfect lap I couldn't have done it. Nevertheless I am very happy we managed to save some tyres throughout qualifying.
"It will be all about tyres and tyre degradation tomorrow (Sunday) once again. We will see what happens but it's good to start from front row."
Vettel's relative success was in contrast to the continuing misfortunes of his team-mate Australian Mark Webber who qualified with the fifth-best time, but takes eighth place on the grid thanks to a penalty carried forward from last Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.
"I was expecting a bit more from it to be honest," he said. "It felt good in P2 and P3, so the build-up has been pretty good.
"Overall I would have liked to extract a bit more out of the car. It's easy to leave a little bit of lap time round here by pushing just a step too hard.
"That's the way it is for all of us, and there's a lot of treacherous corners where like I say you can drop two or three tenths here and there.
"Overall I think it would have been very difficult for me to be on the front row, I certainly left a little bit out there."