Spanish Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel tries new Red Bull chassis in attempt to catch Mercedes

The world champion described the decision as 'a sanity check' after a poor start to the new season

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Struggling champions Red Bull have reacted to their disappointing start to the new season by changing the chassis on Sebastian Vettel's car ahead of practice for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

The drivers' world champion described the decision to install an old chassis he used during pre-season testing as "more a sanity check rather than a real problem with the other chassis. It's just to try everything we can, and basically reset and start again."

Vettel enters Sunday's race in fifth place in the driver standings with 33 points, far behind Mercedes' Nico Rosberg in the lead on 79 and his team-mate Lewis Hamilton on 75.

The overhaul of the regulations and the switch to V6 turbo hybrid engines for this season appears to have caught out Red Bull and dislodged Vettel as the perennial favourite.

He has only one podium finish in four races, marking his worst start since joining Red Bull. His troubles are such that the team have ordered Vettel to let new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo pass him in the last two races.

Meanwhile, Jenson Button sees no end to Mercedes' dominance before the summer break. Rosberg and fellow Briton Hamilton – the first British driver since Button in 2009 to triumph in three consecutive races – have so far claimed all four poles and victories, as well as leading every lap.

"Mercedes don't have any competition," warned Button. "They are so far in front of the field. In Monaco [in a fortnight] you might see Red Bull be strong and give them a run for their money, but apart from that it's going to be very tricky for anyone to challenge them over the next six or seven races.

"Mercedes will also keep developing throughout the year, and whilst we [McLaren] – and every other team – is trying to catch up, they're not going to stand still. They're going to upgrade the car."

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