Red Bull chief designer Adrian Newey has admitted for the first time that the mid-season change in tyre construction helped the team.

The four-time champions were the team lobbying loudest against the initial tyres used in the first half of 2013 despite winning races in Malaysia and Canada, but after the tyre exploding saga at the British Grand Prix, Pirelli was forced to change its tyre construction reverting
to the 2012 design.

"Going back to the 2012 tyres clearly helped us," Newey is quoted by France's L'Equipe.

"Our car works very well in fast corners, which is where the 2013 tyres suffered most. They were pretty easy to damage, so we couldn't really use this advantage that we had over the other teams," he added.

In the debate over how good Sebastian Vettel really is most say that the real champion of the last four years has been Adrian Newey, however the Briton is keen to stress that Vettel has grown and matured into a leading driver since his first championship triumph in 2010.

"His driving has gone from very talented but slightly raw at times in, let's say, 2009, to incredibly well rounded now," he told the Guardian.

"In 2009 and 2010 you could occasionally criticise him for making slightly ill-judged moves and hence having accidents.

"You could criticise him, possibly, for not being able to overtake. I think  some people, possibly, felt that, if he didn't start from pole and control the race from the front, then he was not so good," added Newey.

"You really can't make those criticisms any more. It's difficult to see a chink in his armoury.

The other four-time world champion Alain Prost agrees: "He doesn't make stupid mistakes anymore," he told Germany's Sport Bild.

Since his confirmation as a four-time champion in India, Vettel has earned a greater respect from those in the paddock.

Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa said: "Vettel has been magnificent in his work and he stands out with Alonso, Kimi and Hamilton.

"It is impossible to take any merit from his successes," de la Rosa added.

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