Sebastian Vettel: “It’s a shame that third place escaped us”

The qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix saw the Scuderia Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finish fourth and fifth fastest, but both believed they could have been third on the grid.

Vettel was slightly disappointed to miss out on third on the grid to the Williams of Felipe Massa, but believes he has the car beneath him and the ability to at least claim a podium finish on Sunday, although he believes the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will be out of reach.

“Let’s keep our feet on the ground,” insisted Vettel. “So far this weekend, it’s gone well and we’ve had no problems with the car.

“It’s a shame that third place escaped us, as that would have made us the first team behind Mercedes, but it wasn’t by much and, after all the race is tomorrow. We lost third place because my first run wasn’t quick enough: I’m not very pleased with myself, because there was still some performance to be found, which would have meant I’d have qualified one place higher.

“In terms of strategy, maybe we could have done something different, but basically the result is down to me.

“First and second are a long way in front, but the race is tomorrow and anything can happen during the Grand Prix. A podium? There’s not much of a gap between third and fourth on the grid, so I think the podium is a realistic goal and that’s what we have to aim for.”

Team-mate Raikkonen was disappointed to only be fifth on the grid, and believed a mistake at turn three cost third place. He feels his long runs are strong, and hopes to be fighting for a podium finish on Sunday.

“On my quick lap, I lost around three tenths at turn 3 and then I made a couple of mistakes in the next two corners,” revealed Raikkonen. “We knew we couldn’t fight the Mercedes, at least not in today’s qualifying, but third place on the grid was possible.

“In any case, during free practice, we saw that our long runs are pretty good, so we can be confident of having a good race. All we need to do is get a good start and then give it our best, but I think we can fight for a good position.

“As a team, we are working well together and we have a pretty clear picture of the situation. We know we are quick, but we need to improve in all sectors and, as for myself, I have to drive better.”