Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel: “We expected Mercedes to be very strong here”

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Sebastian Vettel - Scuderia Ferrari
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Sebastian Vettel qualified third for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday and aside from a lock up at turn one on his opening run in the final segment, he felt it was a smooth session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver will start on the second row but on the Soft compound tyre, while his best time in Q3 was also set on that tyre opposed to the Supersoft, but Vettel was unable to beat either of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport drivers to pole position, with Lewis Hamilton taking top spot ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

“Overall, I think it was a smooth session,” said Vettel. “The car was fine and we didn’t have much to do.  We were quite ok this morning, trying to find the right direction.

“It was straightforward in qualifying and then in Q3 during my first run I locked up a little bit in Turn 1, so my first sector was already slow. I tried to recover and fight for pole, but it was not enough.”

Vettel admitted he wasn’t feeling great running with Pirelli’s reduced tyre depth tyres this weekend, feeling they are a little on the hard side.

“I didn’t have a great feeling on the tyres, which have been different the whole weekend,” said Vettel.  “Even if they look the same, they are harder.

“However, it’s the same for everyone.”

Vettel admitted he expected Mercedes to be strong this weekend, so he is not totally displeased with his starting position.  The German feels positive that Ferrari can take the fight to their rivals on Sunday, although he knows they will need to manage the tyres carefully to do so.

“Obviously, I am not entirely happy, but we expected Mercedes to be very strong here,” said Vettel.  “P3 is not a bad place to start from.

“Tomorrow we’ll focus on the start first, and then we’ll see. It will be a long race and the tyres will be challenging, too. Even if the start doesn’t go in our favour, I think we always have a strong car to keep fighting.

“I think tomorrow it will be an interesting race and we’ll be close; the same as happened in the last couple of races. I’m looking forward to the Spanish Grand Prix and hope the people will enjoy it.”

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