Sebastian Vettel expressed optimism over his chances of recovering good points in Sunday’s Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix after a technical problem prevented him from running in Qualifying 3.
An issue with the air pressure line, that was discovered towards the end of Q2, meant that Vettel was the only one of the top 10 not to set a time in the final segment of qualifying, as his Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc took a comfortable pole position at the Red Bull Ring.
Vettel has been promoted to ninth, however, courtesy of engine penalties for the Haas F1 Team‘s Kevin Magnussen – who qualified in fifth place.
He had been expected to challenge Leclerc for pole, making his qualifying misfortunes “bitterly disappointing”.
“It’s obviously bitterly disappointing on a day like this, when you have the car to fight for pole and you are not even taking part,” said Vettel.
“There was a problem with the car so we lost a part of Q2 and all of Q3.
“We fairly quickly made a decision but we had to take the bodywork off and it was not easy to get to the faulty bit. The guys did everything they could but we could not fix it in time.”
Vettel added that he had accepted the fact that he would only have had one timed run in Q3 had Ferrari resolved the issue, and spoke of his happiness over Leclerc’s second pole of the year – Ferrari’s third – as the team looks to end Mercedes AMG Motorsport‘s 100% win record in 2019.
“I knew that if we’d fixed it, most likely I would have had only one run, so I was trying to focus only on that but it didn’t happen,” Vettel added.
“As much as this is a pain, it’s good to see that Charles came through and got pole.
“I am happy for the team, obviously not happy for my side.”
Ferrari was quickest in Free Practices 2 and 3 through Leclerc, but Vettel was the second fastest man in Friday morning running and holds faith in Ferrari’s pace.
The Austrian track has plentiful overtaking opportunities for the four-time world champion to use his car’s evident speed against the top end of the midfield.
“I think our car is quick this weekend, quicker than the people in front of us so I am looking forward to a good day and a good race tomorrow.”