Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Monza, 2017

Vettel at a loss to understand Ferrari’s poor qualifying

2017 Italian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel said he didn’t know why Ferrari lacked pace in the wet qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix.

The world championship leader qualified 2.5 seconds slower than pole sitter and chief rival Lewis Hamilton at Monza. Kimi Raikkonen in the other Ferrari was only a tenth of a second faster than his team mate.

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Monza, 2017
Italian Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
Vettel admitted he was “surprised by how quick the others went” after being out-qualified by both Mercedes, both Red Bulls plus Lance Stroll’s Williams and Esteban Ocon’s Force India.

“Clearly we couldn’t go the same pace,” said Vettel. “At this stage we don’t know why.”

“There’s a couple of things we’ll look into and try and understand. Nevertheless I think it was an important day. Obviously something didn’t work, didn’t come together. Now it is what it is and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”

Despite this being his worst qualifying performance of the season so far Vettel is optimistic he will be able to make progress in the race.

“We have a good car so I don’t think we need to be afraid,” he said. “Obviously today didn’t go the way we wanted. Tomorrow I think we can make up a lot of ground, the car is quick, we know that. You can overtake here so it should be a fun race.”

Penalties for both Red Bull drivers means Raikkonen and Vettel will move up two places and start the race from the third row of the grid.

2017 Italian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 20 comments on “Vettel at a loss to understand Ferrari’s poor qualifying”

    1. As is everyone else, Seb. I don’t quite understand why they were so bad. Theoretically they should be better than Mercedes in the wet as they have more downforce – although they may be running a lower downforce setup for the dry race, but still, you wouldn’t expect them to be so poor.

      1. @hugh11 Sure downforce is important in the wet that said in the wet you are travelling significantly slower thus producing a lot less downforce, is it tyres the issue? I agree that Ferrari might have been running lower downforce but they generally don’t bluff, they weren’t so out of place on inters but in q3 they were nowhere.

        On that picture above Vet’s rear wing is very shallow, and so is Hamilton’s on the other side Williams and SFI’s rear wings are significantly bigger than they were friday, can it be that Ferrari put on less rear wing than their competitors because they knew RBR wouldn’t threaten them in qualifying? Or is Ferrari at a loss, anyway, I don’t see Mercedes compromising their championship like Ferrari does.

      2. Everyone is running a lower downforce setup for the race but lets hope Ferrari is taking it to the extremes and it pays off. Why would Ferrari have more downforce theoretically?

        1. @rethla
          That’s down to their unusual sidepods design which allow more airflow to be feeded into the diffuser and therefore creating more downforce. That design is almost impossible to copy midseason since the chassis+PU were arranged together to allow such a design

    2. One can only hope it’s because they have a dry setup which will be stronger in the race, although I fear that is wishful thinking :(

    3. If Seb makes it to second, it’ll feel like victory, even though Hammy would take the championship lead. He starts 6th; but still puts a positive spin on it post quali! I don’t buy it. The disaster for Ferrari of course, is if it does rain tomorrow!

      1. Why is that?
        Ferraris racepace might be good even in rain.

    4. Not a good quali for Vettel and Ferrari.

    5. Never understood why the Mercedes was nicknamed “Diva”, cause its performances never fluctuated that much to justify the so-called set-up/tyres problems. I think some just take for granted what the teams (Toto in this case) say to the public and then roll over those words again and again as undeniable truth. Today it really showed that actually the SF17H deserves a lot more the nickname “Diva”. From P2 and P3 to P7 and P9 in just 1 week time, then the team doesn’t even know what’s with this lack of speed from their car… that’s a ”Diva”. In my opinion, Mercedes (Toto) exagerrate a lot, starting all this “Diva affair” at the start of the season when it wasn’t sure how good Ferrari is, and in case they got beaten, we’d end up with Toto giving us the answer: “It’s a Diva. Told you that already”. In reality, the W07Hybrid is no ”Diva” at all, actually the car seems pretty great indeed. There’re 2 cases: the car may not be easy to set-up, but no Diva at all either since they manage to find in time… every time… the right set-up to be in the fight for PP and win OR the team is stupid, never able to find the proper set-up but car is so great that it doesn’t matter what set-up you install, it’s always in the fight for 1st place.

      1. Really? So in Bahrain, Russia, Monaco, Spain and Hungary one of the Merc drivers struggled with setup but in your opinion that car is fine, but Ferrari have one bad qualy and you call their car a diva. SMH

        Think you need to take your blinkers off mate.

        1. Didn’t you notice? It’s mostly Hamilton’s car that has had setup issues so far this year, and we all know that when talking about Lewis Hamilton, when he does poorly it’s all his fault, when he does well, it’s all down to the car and when he speaks, it’s all a lie. Also, it’s common knowledge among some here that the Ferrari is positively awful (despite Vettel & Ferrari themselves claiming it’s the quicker race car several times this year… even going as far as to categorically state that there are no more circuits that they should fear going forward). Contrary to Mercedes & Hamilton’s case however, the Ferrari team & driver (Vettel… apparently Kimi is rubbish) must be lying about their awful car being so good… maybe to hide the embarrassment that comes from all the attention they’re getting for their amazing ability to make rubbish cars appear as race winning material. I tell ya, this F1 thing is a tricky business to fathom…

    6. Still expect Vettel to finish 3rd at worst tomorrow, but wouldn’t be surprised if he got past Bottas too (assuming they’ll both pass Stroll and Ocon).

      1. If the past is an indicator Vettel will have his hands full trying to get by Bottas, especially in equal cars.

        1. What equal cars? Mercedes is clearly faster in all conditions. And with their stronger top end AND better high speed corner downforce Vettel would have to pull a David vs Goliath move to get passed that Merc.

    7. Ferrari for some reason cannot make the wets worl. They always try to go for the inters as soon as possible. They were the first to do so and went into q3 with inters when cleary the conditions asked for wets. That is why they struggle, there is no problem with the amount of downforce they are running. Maybe their suspension doesn’t work well with the tyres, it is the best I can think of

    8. I think and want to believe that Ferrari went extreme in downforce after Spa fiasco in straights.
      I hope this is the case and we will have a good race tomorrow.
      Does anyone saw max speeds from free practise from mercedes and Ferrari?

    9. Greay start here and Ferrari could be where they would have been in dry quali. All though unlikley Ocon and Stroll with fast cars in a straight line going for glory into 1st turn could cause Hamilton or Bottas a serious issue. Overtaking is possible here so will be interesting.

    10. So what does Vettel mean when he said “The classic rain setups don’t exist anymore, and I doubt that anyone set up the car for the wet today”? So of course there’s still a drastically different setup for wet conditions, right? I’ve only driven in the wet one time at racing school, and we ran a very different setup on the car. Obviously they still run a different setup in F1 too, but is it less different than it used to be or something?

      Also, do you think that Force India and Williams had a bit more of a wet setup than Ferrari, or are they actually that much faster in wet conditions? I’m guessing they either had a setup that put a lot more heat in the tires than Ferrari, or they compromised their setup, and will struggle in the dry tomorrow. Force India might be relatively ok though, they had fantastic straight line speed last weekend, and there’s more straight lines here than anywhere.

    11. Ferrari have been relatively lacklustre in most colder races this season – their car seems to thrive in the hotter races, working it’s tyres better etc.

      They were less impressive in the cooler races like China – still there, but not quite with the Merc…

      1. @optimaximal
        I disagree. China could have gone to Vettel if not for that untimely SC and having to spend so much time behind Raikkonen.

        For me it seems Ferrari are much more competitive on the softer compounds. The Ultra’s and the Super softs. In Spain Merc was A LOT faster on the harder compounds.

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