Sebastian Vettel: “Third place was possible”


Sebastian Vettel was unsatisfied with his qualifying effort at the Sochi Autodrom after being forced to settle for fourth on the grid, with the Scuderia Ferrari driver feeling third place was there for the taking.

The German driver was comfortable with his SF15-T during the early stages of the qualifying hour, but felt the feeling of the car was not as it was at the end, and was disappointed to see the Williams Martini Racing machine of Valtteri Bottas snatch third on the grid.

“I’m not entirely happy: I think that qualifying was close and third place was possible,” said Vettel. “We started very well in qualifying, needing only one lap in Q1; then… I don’t know, as qualifying progressed I lost a little bit of feeling and didn’t manage to put the lap together in the end.

“Maybe there’s some ideas why this happened, we’ll have to have a look at that; but to be honest it’s irrelevant because tomorrow it’s a different format, a race with many laps, so we have to see what the day brings.

“We didn’t have the opportunity to really change much on the car, but I think everybody is in the same situation.”

Looking ahead to the race, Vettel admits strategy is unclear, especially after all the disruptions seen during all three of the practice sessions that left many questions unanswered. He feels he should be in a position to fight Williams for the podium positions, and believes the gap to the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team should be far less than seen during qualifying.

“Strategy is a bit unknown at that point, but we’ll try to do our best,” revealed Vettel. “I think is possible to fight with Williams, I believe we have a very good car so it should be a good race: I’m actually very confident for tomorrow.

“As for Mercedes, I think they have been more or less one second away but I also think tomorrow it will be a lot closer, I expect that the gap will be smaller, but we’ll see what we can do. If we have the chance, of course we must take it.

“Obviously it would have been a bit easier if we had been a bit closer to pole position. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”