Sebastian Vettel has added to the criticism of F1’s new qualifying format.
The Ferrari driver echoed Lewis Hamilton’s view that the shortcomings of elimination qualifying had been predicted before the season started.
“I don’t understand why all the people are so surprised now,” said Vettel after qualifying third for the Australian Grand Prix. “It was going to happen, there were plenty of engineers and other brains that, basically, had sort of predicted what would happen.”
Each phase of qualifying saw a brief period of activity followed by a lull in the on-track action. In Q3 Vettel did a single lap then sat out the rest of the session.
“It was crazy at the beginning with all the cars lining up at the end of the pit lane and everybody trying to set a lap time to avoid the risk of being eliminated,” said Vettel.
“And then it was very quiet, same in Q2 and equally in Q3. So I don’t think that it is more exciting, it’s definitely the wrong way to go.”
“Nothing has changed from what we had said a few weeks ago, but apparently somebody liked it, otherwise we wouldn’t have had this format.”
Vettel added Ferrari are “a bit further behind” the Mercedes drivers than the team expected. “It was a bit difficult to find the rhythm in qualifying.”
“I felt quite good with the car in P3, but then it took some time to get back, and only in Q3 it really started to happen. I had a very good lap, and in the end, because the gap was quite big, I felt that my first lap had been good enough. There really wasn’t another half a second in there, so we called it off, and saved a set of tyres.”
2016 Australian Grand Prix
- Elimination qualifying officially replaced by 2015 format
- Halo would have been “welcome” in crash – Alonso
- Alonso takes new power unit after crash
- Third Driver of the Weekend win for Grosjean
- F1 enjoys best season-opening race since 2009