Vettel: Fight for pole impossible after fall in temperature

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Sebastian Vettel has explained how the fall in temperature ahead of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday cost Ferrari a chance to fight for pole position.

Vettel was the fastest driver in the final free practice session on Saturday morning in Monaco, suggesting that he was capable of getting in the fight with the two Mercedes drivers for pole position.

However, he faded in the final part of qualifying thanks to falling temperatures, finishing eight-tenths of a second down on pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton in third place.

“I’m generally happy with the result,” Vettel said. “I think it was a bit too cool for us today. I think everyone was struggling a bit with warming up the tires.

“It sounds surprising because it’s the super-softs, but I think it was a shame that the sun was hiding behind the clouds.

“Nevertheless, I think it was a good session for us, and P3 is a good place to start from tomorrow. Hopefully we can split the Mercedes and therefore have an exciting race tomorrow.”

Vettel admitted that he was slightly concerned in Q1 when Ferrari opted not to run him or teammate Kimi Raikkonen for a second time in the session, but believes that the team made the right decision.

“No, not completely calm!” Vettel said. “Obviously I knew roughly at the time that it should be fine, what we thought would be enough, but it was close.

“When you see yourself dropping down and the timer ticking away from you, you can’t really react and go out and have another run. it’s not nice but in the end it was okay for both of us.

“We did the right thing, targeted to prepare ourselves for the last part of qualifying. Unfortunately it was not enough to get really really close to them and put them under pressure, but tomorrow’s another day.”

F1 Countdown for the Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBCSN from 7am on Sunday, before switching over to NBC at 7:30am ET for the race.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.