Sebastian Vettel has not given up hope of winning Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, believing that the unpredictable nature of the race can help Ferrari to “create a miracle” and beat Mercedes.
Vettel finished third in qualifying at Interlagos on Saturday, finishing half a second behind pole-sitter Nico Rosberg in Q3 as Mercedes stormed to another front-row lock-out.
Despite not appearing to have the pace to challenge the Silver Arrows in Brazil, Vettel believes that Ferrari can spring a surprise by playing around with strategy and perhaps benefitting from rain that some are forecasting for Sunday.
“I would have loved to be a lot closer to Mercedes, but that was our maximum today,” Vettel said. “In Q2 it looked like we could reduce the gap a bit, particularly to Lewis [Hamilton].
“I saw that Nico’s lap wasn’t clean so I expected him to pick it up in Q3. But then both of them did improve, and that was a bit too much for us, we couldn’t follow.
“Let’s see tomorrow, usually in the race we are a bit closer. In order to get in front of the Mercedes we need a rocket start, it is not a very long way down to turn one, and a good start always helps.
“Then in the race trim we are usually a bit better than in qualifying, close enough to put some pressure on them, then I think we can play around with strategy.
“Interlagos is a crazy place, lot of things can happen, you never know what a GP can bring. It was supposed to rain when we arrived, but then we had sunshine all day, there was rain as well but at different times.
“Our target for tomorrow is to give everything and it is our aim to create a miracle. The chance is there and we believe in it.”
Vettel will be joined on the second row of the grid for the start by Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who moves up one place thanks to Valtteri Bottas’ penalty.
“I don’t think it’s ever going to be easy but you know, today it was not too bad,” Raikkonen said. “I went sideways in the last lap in turn 11 and this also affected the run into the last corner.
“So the end of my lap was not ideal and I lost time, but apart from that the car has been working well, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow, trying to make a good start and moving on from there.
“The balance of the car was ok, it has been behaving pretty well, although obviously not fast enough for beating the Mercedes. For sure we could have been a bit higher up the time chart, but I think it was not too bad.
“I’ll start from fourth anyway tomorrow and maybe the weather will be different from today.”