The Scuderia Ferrari drivers had what they felt were disappointing qualifying sessions at the Circuit de Catalunya, with Sebastian Vettel third, 0.777s adrift of the pole time, while Kimi Raikkonen struggled to seventh.
Vettel was naturally dissatisfied to be behind both Mercedes drivers in qualifying, especially with such a big gap of almost eight-tenths of a second, and felt the team are not as happy with their car this weekend as they have been in recent races. He is hoping to take advantage of having an additional set of new tyres to use on Sunday to take the challenge to Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
“It’s not a great place to be behind Nico and Lewis, but I think it’s the maximum we could do today, so I’m happy with qualifying,” said Vettel. “I think the week end has been a bit rougher compared to the last couple in terms of finding the balance and the feeling with the car: we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.
“We have improved the car, but the track conditions this week end are a bit tricky: the wind is very gusty, which is throwing the car around plus the tires are potentially a bit too hard and not really working. It seems that Mercedes is struggling less and the gap seems bigger than usual. Tomorrow we can put them under pressure: we’ll see, it’s a long race.
“Hopefully we’ll come up with a good strategy, we’ve saved one set of new tires for tomorrow as Mercedes did: I’m hoping we can stay with them for a long time. There’s room for improvements, hopefully the conditions tomorrow will come towards us and we’ll be a bit stronger again. We’ll do our best, as always.”
Raikkonen was unhappy with the performance of his car in qualifying after ending seventh fastest, feeling the set-up wasn’t right so he was sliding on the track too much. He feels downbeat about how the weekend has gone so far, but remains confident he can move up the order on Sunday.
“So far the weekend has been more difficult than I wanted and today I was still struggling, for some reason my car was sliding around,” said Raikkonen. “After a difficult Friday I decided together with the team to go back to the old package because I wanted to make sure it was fine.
“We knew it would be a risk and it might be difficult but I don’t think that the result would have been as bad as it was today. In Q2 the feeling was pretty ok but then in Q3 it was difficult again, I had not much grip and did a bad lap.
“It’s one of those weekends in which things keep going a little wrong here and there, and today we also lost one set of Medium tyres because of a burning of a blanket.
“Tomorrow is another day and the race is a different story, obviously we start in a position that is not ideal, but we have a good package. If we have a good start we can go from there, I’m sure we have the speed to have a good race”.