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Red Bull needs more track time: Vettel

By Abhishek Takle

SEPANG, Malaysia (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel feels his Red Bull team need more time on track to fine tune their 2012 challenge and tipped McLaren as the team to beat at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Red Bull, which dominated qualifying in 2011, were surprisingly off the pace on Saturday in the battle for pole position at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with both Vettel and team mate Mark Webber on the third row.

However, come race day the Red Bulls were back on the pace, with Vettel finishing second and Webber fourth.

"I think we need track time to really understand what's going on," reigning world champion Vettel said. "I don't think we have a problem with the car as in we don't understand what's going on, or the front is too weak or the rear end is a disaster, it's not like that.

"So I think its fine tuning here and there.

"Hopefully we have a lot of track time tomorrow to allow ourselves to see exactly where we are and then trim the car in the right direction for Saturday and Sunday," the 24-year-old added.

Vettel was unsure how the Red Bull would handle the Sepang circuit with its fast, flowing corners and predicted the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton would be fast.

Button won the season-opener in Melbourne on Sunday, with team mate Hamilton third.

"I think McLaren has done a very good step and they have a very competitive car," said Vettel.

"From what we know they are quick everywhere so it's not as if they have a weakness. They will be the ones to beat as I said. They will be quick but we'll try our best and there's also others around."

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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