Sebastian Vettel has said that second place on the grid for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix was the optimum that he could achieve given the pace of pole-sitter Nico Rosberg.
In a frantic final part of qualifying, Vettel momentarily was on pole position after going fractionally faster than Rosberg with his final lap time. However, the Mercedes driver went fastest in all three sectors to pull out a 0.4 second gap to the field and secure his fifth pole position in six races.
Vettel’s assertion on Friday that Red Bull was a step closer to Mercedes in Hungary was proven in qualifying, and he was pleased with the result when speaking in the post-session press conference today.
“It seems that we are a little bit closer but obviously Nico’s final lap was very good so the gap was again quite big,” Vettel said. “Bigger than we were hoping for, because if we get everything perfect and Nico maybe has a bit of a wobble, we can have a crack, but it didn’t happen.
“They did a good job. Obviously Q3 was a mixed bag, it could have been anything, so therefore with the more dry conditions at the end to get second was the optimum.”
Vettel does not believe that Red Bull is quite close enough to fight Mercedes in the dry just yet, and is instead preparing himself for a fight with the Williams drivers of Valtteri Bottas (P3) and Felipe Massa (P6) in Hungary tomorrow.
“I think we are here to fight, we want to do that,” Vettel said. “If it rains, I think we definitely have a better chance than in normal standard dry conditions but even then, I think we were closer this weekend. Long run pace looked a lot better on Friday compared to them. Obviously hard to judge how much they were sandbagging or running different modes on Friday.
“It should be closer than in the last couple of races, definitely. I think we can have a good fight with Williams, which seems to be out of reach for the last couple of races.”
You can watch the Hungarian Grand Prix live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET tomorrow.