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Sebastian Vettel is hoping a tactical qualifying gamble will reap its rewards in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.
Vettel will start eighth after failing to set a time in Saturday's top-10 shoot-out, aborting his hot lap in order to give him "a free choice of tyres" on which to start the race.
With wear and degradation of the Pirelli tyres crucial, grid position is potentially not as important as previous years at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
In 21 races at this track the man on pole has gone on to win on 16 occasions, while only once has the victor not come from the front row, in 1996 when Michael Schumacher won from third.
But in this topsy-turvy season, in which there have been four different winners in the opening four races, it would not be a surprise if those statistics were turned on their head.
Reigning champion Vettel said: "There was nothing wrong.
"We decided to abort the lap to have a free choice of tyres for the race. If I had set a lap (time) we would have to start the race on soft tyres.
"In Q2 the first run was crucial. I didn't manage to pull a lap out, so I had to use my final set of (soft) tyres to get into Q3."
Vettel has conceded, though, his Red Bull was "simply not quick enough", adding: "We'll see how it goes for tomorrow.
"We were a bit surprised how much of a step the others have made, but I'm quite confident for the race, we always have a good race car.
"And we have a couple of new sets (of the hard tyre) which has proved successful for others in previous races this year."
Supporting Vettel, who currently leads the title race by four points from Lewis Hamilton who grabbed pole with ease, team boss Christian Horner said: "It's a very different game this year.
"Ultimately Sebastian didn't have great one-lap pace - maybe it was the wind - but you have to look at it two ways.
"Going into the race with four new sets of tyres is an advantage.
"Mark (Webber, who qualified 12th) has four sets of new tyres.
"Seb has effectively used one more set, so F1 is a strategic game."