Horner: China woes a one-off

Red Bull have downplayed their struggles at the Chinese Grand Prix with team principal Christian Horner insisting it was due to the nature of the track.

The team claimed a 1-2 finish in Malaysia three weeks ago while Sebastian Vettel also secured pole at Sepang as well as the season-opener in Melbourne.

However, the team were off the pace of Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes in qualifying at Shanghai as Vettel decided not to set a time in Q3 while Mark Webber failed to make into to the final qualifying session.

Although things went slightly better on the Sunday with Vettel finishing P4, the team didn't really have the pace to challenge the front-runners.

Horner, though, refused to be too downbeat after the race as the Shanghai International Circuit hasn't been a good one for Red Bull in recent years with the team winning there only once.

"Over the last couple of years this track has not been our strongest," he said.

"It has a heavy emphasis on front [tyre] wear and degradation, so you tend to be front limited here rather than rear.

"We will see next weekend whether things move around in Bahrain."

Vettel opted against setting a time in Q3 on Saturday so that he could start on the medium tyres as Red Bull decided to use a different strategy.

Horner admits the high tyre degradation are forcing them to change their thinking.

"We are seeing that qualifying is less of a premium than trying to preserve the tyres," he said.

"Our car performs very, very well. It is a quick car, but a quick car abuses its tyres and the tyres cannot cope with that.

"So then we have to adapt our approach and set-up and the way we operate the car to ensure that we get more out of the tyres.

"It is the same for everybody though - it is just a different way of going around things."