Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel has accepted full responsibility for failing to qualify on pole position for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix, having made a small error in Q3 which meant that he could not challenge Nico Rosberg at the front.
The Red Bull driver finished 3rd in the final session behind Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, but he feels that the 0.104 second gap would have been surmountable if he hadn’t made a slight error.
“I think it was very close,” Vettel said in the post-qualifying press conference.
“Mercedes were very quick all weekend and we know they are good over one lap. But I don’t want that to sound like an excuse, I think there was a bit more than a tenth missing and I think I had that today, but it didn’t come together on the last lap.
“The car was really, really good so if anyone is to blame it is me. I am not entirely happy with the last lap, but still pretty happy there is not a Ferrari or a Lotus ahead.”
Having beaten his closest championship rivals in qualifying, Vettel has now set his sights on getting ahead of both Mercedes drivers, believing that he can beat both Rosberg and Hamilton on the same strategy.
“Tomorrow I think Mercedes will have to stop at least as much as us so I think sitting in third is a good result and should be a good opportunity to win the race.”
Mercedes have suffered with heavy rear tire wear so far this season, and they have failed to win from any of the three pole positions they have claimed in 2013. Therefore, Red Bull will be pleased to have locked out the second row, and will be undoubtedly be in the running for the win on Sunday.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.