Sebastian Vettel does not feel frustrated about Ferrari’s reliability problems at the start of the 2016 Formula 1 season, saying “it’s part of racing”.
Ferrari entered 2016 hopeful of mounting a serious challenge to the all-conquering Mercedes team, only for issues on its cars in Australia and Bahrain to limit it to a one-car finish.
Vettel’s plight continued on Friday in Russia when an issue forced him to stop out on track during practice, ultimately resulting in a gearbox change and a grid penalty.
Vettel qualified second at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday behind pole-sitter Nico Rosberg, but will drop back to seventh for the start of the race.
“Of course I would have liked the gap in the end to have been a bit smaller but we saw in Q2 Nico in particular was very strong getting the lap in,” Vettel said.
“I think for us it was the maximum. We benefitted from what happened to Lewis [Hamilton]. I’m not sure what exactly it was, but it allowed us to go P2 which helps tomorrow with the penalty.
“We’re a bit closer starting on the clean side of the track. I think we can have a good race from there. It should be quite exciting. The car feels good. I think all weekend has been quite strong. We lost some time, but I think we made it up this morning so it shouldn’t be an issue.”
Vettel said that he does not feel frustrated about Ferrari’s reliability issues, saying that there is still a long way to go in the season.
“Not frustrated at all. Obviously it’s not nice if these things happen because they don’t make your life easier,” Vettel said.
“But equally it’s part of racing. These things can happen. They didn’t happen on purpose, they weren’t planned. We’re been pushing very hard to try and catch up which I think especially in race pace we’ve proven already this year.
“Obviously we didn’t have a properly clean race yet this year. Maybe we’ll have tomorrow, you never know, it’s a long race and a long way especially around here. There’s a lot of things that can happen.
“I think we have to wait and see. It’s still April, tomorrow is May, and there’s a long, long way to go. It’s a long championship. It’s important to do your best to get the maximum points every single time and the rest you’ll find out anyway.”
The Russian Grand Prix is live on CNBC from 7am ET on Sunday.