Red Bull failed to live up to their usual qualifying standards at the Hungaroring today – Sebastian Vettel could not live with the pace of polesitter Lewis Hamilton, and was knocked off the front row by Romain Grosjean; team-mate Mark Webber did not even make it out into Q3.
“It was difficult session for us,” said Vettel, who was clearly disappointed with third place on the grid. “We didn't get into qualifying how we would like and the rhythm wasn't there straight away.
“We burned more tyres than we thought in the beginning, so we only had one new set for Q3. The run we had was okay, but I didn't get the same feeling that I got at the end of Q2, which was a surprise, so we didn't seem to go with the track and make another step. Romain was in reach, but Lewis was another step.
“We know it's difficult to overtake here, but hopefully we will have a good start. Tyre management will be crucial.”
Webber will be relying on good race pace tomorrow to salvage something from the weekend.
“I was happy with the car this morning, I was quick in P3, but I didn't feel happy on that last set of soft tyres in Q2 and struggled against my scrub time, which is a bit bizarre,” said the Australian. “The field is tight at the moment and it's disappointing to qualify in P11 obviously. Our race pace should be okay tomorrow.”
Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, is also confident that the RB8 should be more competitive in the race tomorrow, and tried to explain what went wrong today.
“Sebastian managed to improve [on his first Q2 effort]; unfortunately the lap time didn't come from Mark – there was only 3 tenths (of a second) between P2 and P11, but that was where Mark's qualifying ended,” explained Horner. “Sebastian had one set of tyres left, so we decided to run in the middle of the session and a strong lap from him puts him P3 on the grid for tomorrow's race.
“I think P2 would have been our optimum today – Lewis' time over a single lap was unreachable, but we're confident we've got a good race car.”