Vettel rues mistakes after qualifying gamble

2016 Chinese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel says he was not happy with his flying lap that ultimately left him fourth on the grid after opting to save a set of tyres by making just the one run in Q3.

The Ferrari driver admitted he gambled on limiting himself to just one flying lap to try and keep more strategy options open for tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix.

“Yeah, we saved a set of tyres. I think we opted for that,” says Vettel.

“I was happy and confident that I could make it on the last lap, but I didn’t, so I wasn’t happy with the lap. A couple of small mistakes here and there that cost me quite a lot of time.”

With Ferrari having looked nearer the pace of the Mercedes in practice this weekend and Nico Rosberg starting on the soft compound, Vettel says tomorrow’s race could be interesting.

“The start can be interesting with him [Rosberg] on a different compound for the extra start performance, then the first stint will be interesting to see how the tyres behave for us and for him and then we go from there,” says Vettel.

“In Australia, the start was pretty good so I’m confident that I can have another one and then we go from there. Obviously there was the Red Bull [Ricciardo] that squeezed past, but I think we can be quicker tomorrow.

“Obviously I have another set [of tyres] in hand. Whether we need it or not depends on the race – whether the safety car comes out at a certain time, maybe we don’t even need it. But that’s the gamble we took today in Q3 otherwise I think we could’ve been two positions higher up, but that’s how it is.”

2016 Chinese Grand Prix

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    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    10 comments on “Vettel rues mistakes after qualifying gamble”

    1. Both Ferraris better make up for this disappointing qualifying by taking a double podium. Anything less is a chance missed esp. with Hamilton starting last.

      1. true.

      16th April 2016, 14:23

      extremely disappointing qualifying result by both driver:(

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      16th April 2016, 14:46

      Seems an odd time to take a gamble with Hamilton out and Ferrari’s recent starts. Vettel would have had a very good chance of leading into the first turn had he just made sure he was on the front row!

      1. Do you think they should play safe for an guaranteed p2 in the constructors?

    4. I think they gambled because hamilton was out. They thought 2nd position was a freebie. Riccardo proves otherwise.

      Of course they are exactly where they normally start, so it wasn’t that bad a strategy.

    5. Their comments seem to suggest they were going for pole..

      Vettel had withn him capability to get pole if he tried twice.

    6. Ferrari drivers really botched up this qualifying. They actually had the pace to take pole this weekend. They couldn’t get it any better than Hamilton is starting last and Rosberg’s much less than perfect lap

    7. Very rare for Vettel to mess up his qualifying lap as he did. Raikkonen had the pace all weekend, his sector 1 & 2 were great, but ultimately he messed up as well. They will both want to prove something tomorrow.

    8. It’s not over yet. If the red cars are good off the line, they might just show that they learned a lesson or two from Australia.

      I’ve got to tip Nico for the win, though. If his car doesn’t have the same issue as Lewis’.

      To be fair, we have all of the ingredients for a great GP. Fast cars at the back and a battle all of the way up the midfield to the front.

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