Sebastian Vettel felt disappointed to have only qualified fourth for the Russian Grand Prix, believing that he should have made the top three in Saturday’s Q3 session.
Vettel arrived in Sochi hoping to challenge the leading Mercedes drivers as he did in Singapore last month, but finished eight-tenths of a second adrift of pole-sitter Nico Rosberg in the final stage of qualifying.
As a result, Vettel will start tomorrow’s race at the Sochi Autodrom from fourth place behind Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.
“I’m not entirely happy. I think that qualifying was close and third place was possible,” Vettel said. “We started very well in qualifying, needing only one lap in Q1.
“Then… I don’t know, as qualifying progressed I lost a little bit of feeling and didn’t manage to put the lap together in the end. Maybe there’s some ideas why this happened, we’ll have to have a look at that.
“But to be honest it’s irrelevant because tomorrow it’s a different format, a race with many laps, so we have to see what the day brings.”
A lack of practice running left most of the drivers in the dark ahead of qualifying, and Vettel believes it will be much the same for the race on Sunday.
“We didn’t have the opportunity to really change much on the car, but I think everybody is in the same situation,” Vettel said. “Strategy is a bit unknown at that point, but we’ll try to do our best. I think it is possible to fight with Williams, I believe we have a very good car so it should be a good race: I’m actually very confident for tomorrow.
“As for Mercedes, I think they have been more or less one second away but I also think tomorrow it will be a lot closer, I expect that the gap will be smaller, but we’ll see what we can do. If we have the chance, of course we must take it.
“Obviously it would have been a bit easier if we had been a bit closer to pole position. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.