Sebastian Vettel lamented a difficult Friday at the Circuit of the Americas, with his afternoon session affected by technical issues and a lurid spin into the gravel trap that he was lucky to escape from.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver was late to join the session as his mechanics worked on his car, but before he could set a competitive lap time he lost control at the penultimate corner and found himself in the gravel trap.
He managed to get out of the trap and returned to the pit lane, but he had ruined a set of tyres with the spin, and his mechanics got to work again to fix the car ahead of a late run that took him up to third in the results behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Vettel failed to get any long run practice in during the session, but he remains confident that Ferrari has a strong car this weekend in the United States.
“It was a complicated afternoon,” said Vettel, “and not an easy session, but the car is quick, so we don’t need to worry too much about it.
“The only lap I had was the one with the Ultrasofts. Before that, I made a mistake taking too much risk and pushing too early. The track was quite slippery and I lost the rear under braking. So, we lost a set of tyres, and then again, towards the end of the session, I felt that something was not right with the car.
“So, we checked a couple of times and now we are looking at the car to see if we can find something. I need to find the rhythm tomorrow and make sure everything’s in order.”