Vettel feels Ferrari is ‘a bit behind’ at Silverstone

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Sebastian Vettel believes that Ferrari is “a bit behind” its rivals at Silverstone after qualifying sixth for the British Grand Prix on Saturday.

As Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg locked out the front row of the grid in Q3, Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel could only finish fifth and sixth respectively, falling behind both Red Bulls.

Vettel had a ragged final run in Q3, leaving him over two seconds off Hamilton’s pole time, and will start 11th on Sunday after taking a gearbox penalty earlier in the day.

“I’m not happy with my lap, the car was better than this morning,” Vettel said.

“I was in a very good lap but I lost the car at Stowe in the first run, trying a bit too hard, then in the second one I went wide in Turn 1 and lost the car from there.

“On this track it seems we are a bit behind. I think we have done good steps in the past, but probably not enough, also compared to other people, so I think there’s a lot of catching up for us to do.

“We need to make the car quicker, to put more downforce in it, make it more efficient at the same time, and add a bit of power.”

Vettel made no secret of his annoyance after taking a second gearbox penalty in the space of a week, but is confident that he has the pace to fight his way back up the order.

“Replacing the gearbox is something we have to accept, and we did accept it going into the session,” Vettel said.

“It’s not something that is in your head when you start a race, I look forward for a good one tomorrow, the pace is there, we don’t belong where we start the race, and that’s why I’m quite sure we can make good progress.

“I hope for a good start, a good first lap and then we’ll see. Maybe we’ll have some rain, anyway we need to keep our head down, keep calm and just go racing and enjoy.”

Raikkonen was fortunate to qualify as high as fifth after an error-strewn Q2 that almost left him outside of the top 10 for the start at Silverstone.

“Fifth and sixth is not what we want, we are not happy with where we finished today, but this is the best we could achieve,” Raikkonen said.

“We know our limits on this track and where we struggle, the circuit layout and the conditions don’t make it very easy for us and we are a bit stuck with the things we can do.

“This afternoon the car felt the best it has been in the whole weekend, but obviously we were not fast enough.

“In Q2 I made it very difficult for myself, I spun at the start of my run with the first new set, and then locked the front wheel on the next one. At my last attempt I was able to make it through to Q3, but these things shouldn’t happen.

“Race conditions are always different and can change a lot here, usually we are stronger in the race and hopefully tomorrow will be the same. We’ll try to make a good start, make the tires work and take the right decisions.”

The British Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.