Sebastian Vettel failed to make it out of Q2 in Bahrain today after experiencing a downshift problem – although the German also conceded that he hadn’t got the most out of the car.
His day started badly when he spun into a gravel trap in FP3. While the car was not stuck the engine cut as the anti-stall system failed to react properly, so he lost most of the session.
Vettel ended up in 11th place in Q2, but he will start 10th thanks to team mate Daniel Ricciardo’s penalty.
“On my final run we had some issued with the downshifts, which upset the balance,” he said. “It was the only shot I had in Q2. It was quite close. Good for Kimi who was 10th, and bad for me who was 11th at that stage. Couple of reasons why – I think at the end I wasn’t able to extract 100% out of the car.
“For some reason from one to the other, from the final run in Q1 to Q2 something went wrong and we couldn’t fix it in time, so I had to do the lap compromised. How much it affected the lap is difficult to measure, but surely it was no help the car behaviour wasn’t the way I wanted it or the way I expected it. But I’m not a fan of blaming something in particular. For sure that didn’t help, without it probably yes, I would have made it to Q3, but still it was not the session that we wanted to have this evening.”
Vettel said he also had a wastegate issue that he said cost a bit of performance on the straights. Despite his disappointment, he believes he can make progress in the race.
“I think yes, It depends who I have to overtake! But it’s always possible. I hope we find the right strategy to make sure we can use the pace of the car. I think once we are in free air we should be fine, but obviously it’s a bit easier to be in free air when you start from pole, rather than 10th or 11th.”
He was also encouraged by Ricciardo’s qualifying pace: “I think he did what he could and he did what the car could do. If you look at the gap from there, it’s quite big. It obviously it helps him because it puts him 13th I think tomorrow, which is a lot better than starting further back. It’s a shame because otherwise he could have been P3 on the grid. We felt already in testing that it’s a difficult track for us, we are down on power, and around here you need some power – that’s how it is. I think for tomorrow nevertheless I think we have a chance to put the car in a fairly good place in the points.”