Red Bull team principal Christian Horner described today’s qualifying session in China – where Mark Webber claimed seventh on the grid and Sebastian Vettel could only manage eleventh – as ‘an ultimately disappointing’ session.
Mark Webber will gain one position when Lewis Hamilton‘s gearbox penalty is applied tomorrow, but a best placing of sixth on the grid is still a very poor result for the team, especially as Vettel has claimed pole here in each of the last three years.
“The Q2 lap wasn't bad, but I didn't get the Q3 lap together as I would have liked,” said Webber, analysing his afternoon in China. “It's a bit all over the place with pulling a lap time together on the soft tyre, but I would have liked to have finished a row further up.
“The 1m35.7 in Q2 was a good lap, but I maybe tried to eek a bit too much out in Q3. It's frustrating. We know we have a good race car, so it will be interesting to see how it unfolds tomorrow. It's very close and we'll keep pushing.”
Vettel argues that he simply was not fast enough today, and could not lay any of the blame for failing to make it into Q3 on his car.
“There was no problem with the car, but I couldn't get the final few tenths,” said the German. “I was happy with the laps I did in Q2, but they weren't quick enough and we couldn't make it in to Q3. We have a long race ahead of us tomorrow and the car did feel good, so in terms of race pace we should do better tomorrow.
“We weren't fast enough and we have to accept it. We start from P11 tomorrow and see what we can do from there.”
Horner admitted that the team were expected better today. “An ultimately disappointing qualifying,” was the team principal’s summary. “Having looked quick and competitive on the hard tyre, it was a shame for Sebastian to miss Q3 by a very small margin.
“Mark topped the times in Q2, but then unfortunately he couldn't repeat that lap in Q3, so we are P6 and P11 on the grid tomorrow, after Lewis' penalty. It wasn't our expectation, but the top ten has quite a different shape to it here, so it should make an interesting race.”