Sebastian Vettel will start tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from 16th place on the grid after a miscalculation on the Ferrari pit wall caused the German to back off during his final Q1 lap.
Vettel aborted his last lap in Q1 after being informed by Ferrari that his time looked good enough to take him into Q2, allowing him to save some life in his super-soft tires.
However, late improvements from Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean caught Ferrari by surprise, leaving Vettel in the dropzone after the checkered flag had fallen.
Having already slowed on his final lap, Vettel was unable to improve his time, making him a shock casualty in Q1 alongside usual suspects Fernando Alonso, Marcus Ericsson, Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi.
“Nothing wrong with the car, we thought that the lap I had on the soft tires was quick enough, but in the end it was not,” Vettel admitted after qualifying.
“There was also a car in front which shouldn’t have been there. So we misjudged the situation, a small mistake with big consequence, but the race is tomorrow and lots can happen.”
Ferrari’s blushes were saved by Kimi Raikkonen, who managed to qualify third behind the two Mercedes drivers, and Vettel is hopeful that he can join his teammate up the order on Sunday.
“It is good that Kimi is in the front, we have a quick car and it is possible to overtake here, even if only tomorrow we’ll be able to tell how much it is,” Vettel said.
“You can spend a lot of time speaking about what we did wrong, but in the end we know, so now we need to move forward.”
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7am ET on Sunday.