Sebastian Vettel was relieved to secure second on the grid in Barcelona after a difficult day for the German – but he could easily have been on pole.
After problems in FP3, he had an ultra quick power unit change in time for the start of qualifying, but then had some issues when he first went out. That was resolved and, having made it to Q3, he was on a lap that would have taken pole from Lewis Hamilton before he lost time in the sequence of tight corners at the end of the lap.
“I think we could have had pole today, so not the ideal end,” said Vettel. “But when I consider where we were this morning, then obviously with the change we made it out, in Q1, a small issue there, so I think it’s a really good recovery. Yesterday I wasn’t happy with the car balance at all and today it was phenomenal. I felt yesterday that it was in the car, but I just couldn’t get to it.
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“And today, as I say, was really a pleasure, especially the first two sectors. Conditions were very tricky, with the wind, never easy, never knowing what to expect. And I think I got caught out a bit in the last sector – my favorite place – which Mark Webber taught me many lessons over the years and I still haven’t got it. I don’t know, I need to go back to school maybe and sit down and have a proper look. I have done so many laps but still the last chicane is a bit tricky so I’m sure with the race and with the rhythm tomorrow it will be fine, but for quali today it could be a bit better.”
Vettel is not too worried about being on the dirty side of the grid.
“I need a perfect start, simple as that. There’s a long way but I think the grip will be the same. I don’t think it will be much different. There’s a lot of racing series this weekend: you have the Porsche Cup, GP3, F2. Usually they put a lot of rubber down everywhere so I don’t think that’s a real disadvantage – and then as I said, I just need to do everything right and that’s the best way to attack and defend.”