Sebastian Vettel was left disappointed but not downbeat after qualifying third for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday.
Vettel look set to fight for pole after going second with his first lap in Q3, only for the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to improve drastically and leave the Ferrari driver half a second adrift in P3.
Vettel said that the Ferrari SF16-H car felt strong around the Bahrain International Circuit, and that he was pleased with both of his qualifying laps.
When asked why he dropped back from the pole time late on in Q3, Vettel said: “I don’t know, you should ask them!
“I was very happy with the first attempt. My second attempt was more or less copy and paste. I thought it was a little bit, but five-hundredths [after the first run] is probably not enough if they improved by half a second.
“I think [I’m] very happy today, very happy with the car, the car felt fantastic through qualifying, it just kept getting better which I think is natural as this circuit gets quicker.
“There isn’t one place or any place on track where the car doesn’t feel right. We know that we’re not yet where we want to be, but step by step we are getting there.”
Vettel hopes that he can make a similar start to the one he did in Australia where he jumped from third to first at Turn 1 before leading the early part of the race.
“Let’s see what we can do tomorrow,” Vettel said.
“Ideally we do the same thing on the start as two weeks ago. I wouldn’t mind! We’ll see.
“It’s a long race, there are a lot of things that can happen here.”
The Bahrain Grand Prix is live on NBCSN from 10:30am ET on Sunday.