Sebastian Vettel was left ruing a mistake on his final lap in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday that means he will start tomorrow’s race from from eighth place.
Vettel entered the second half of the 2015 Formula 1 season on a high after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix last month, but was unable to carry this form into qualifying at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
The German driver’s fastest lap of 1:48.825 in Q3 was in fact slower than his best time from Q2, and meant that he could only finish ninth at the end of the session.
Although Vettel will make up a position by virtue of Romain Grosjean’s five-place grid penalty, he was disappointed with his performance on Saturday.
“In Q2 we were third and it was very tight if you look at the lap times,” Vettel said.
“In Q3 I was having the same pace, unfortunately I was not able to improve like others, also lost some time at the last corner, and that’s why we’re not in front.”
Vettel remains upbeat ahead of tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix, though, believing that Ferrari can bounce back from its worst qualifying performance of the season so far.
“I don’t think there’s a reason to panic,” he said. “For sure we’re not happy, I lost two or maybe three tenths, but tomorrow we should have a decent pace and pretty good straightline speed to turn things around.
“We have a good car and a strong package for the race. There’s a lot to be done tomorrow, it’s a long race, the starting and first turn will be interesting and there could be some rain at some point. There’s nothing wrong so we’re expecting progress.”
In the sister Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen had a more trying day as he suffered a fall in oil pressure that caused his car to grind to a halt during Q2. As a result, the Finn will start P14 on Sunday.
“I don’t know exactly what happened, I lost some drive and had to stop,” Raikkonen said.
“Our car has been handling pretty nice all weekend, unfortunately the issue has come at the bad time, my position could have been a bit better.
“My starting position will make my race very tricky but I hope that the race condition will turn in our favour. It’s important to go through the first corner: even if it won’t be easy to get past Mercedes-engined cars, we’ll keep fighting and doing our best.”
The Belgian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.