Sebastian Vettel admitted he did not expect to be so far off the pace of Mercedes during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, and will start from sixth position on Sunday.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver was 1.334s away from Lewis Hamilton’s pole time, and after being much closer to the pace during free practice on Saturday morning, felt the team lost the set-up of the car in qualifying to fall away.
Despite the result, Vettel is hopeful of turning his weekend around on Sunday, and has high hopes of moving up the order, and is eyeing another podium finish.
“I think every day can be tough but for sure I didn’t expect to be that far off, especially because this morning we had a good rhythm,” said Vettel. “I didn’t get hold of the car, I didn’t get the feeling that I had earlier today, and couldn’t nail the laps.
“I don’t think that it is a surprise, if you don’t get it together here it can be quite costly, and we know this. I think the gap to Mercedes is bigger than it has been all weekend. So clearly we didn’t get it right.
“As for tomorrow’s race, for sure the further up you qualify, the better: this rule applies everywhere. We will focus on the start, first lap and then there is a long race, and lot of things we can do.
“Usually there are several pit-stops here so we can play with the strategy and pass people that are slower than us. I think the car is quicker than P6, so I have high hopes for tomorrow.”