Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel was puzzled by his lack of pace today in the final part of qualifying for Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.
Vettel had been favourite to take pole position after dominating practice on Friday and again on Saturdayat the Marina Bay street circuit. However, while the German was competitive in Q1 and was right up there in the second session too, he struggled for grip in Q3 and had to settle for third and a place on the second row, his best lap, a 1 minute 46.905 seconds, 0.543 seconds off Lewis Hamilton's pole position.
“It's hard to say what happened. I was happy until the end of Q2, but then in Q3 we weren't able to go with the track and improve,” explained the two-times F1 world champion. “In Q3 I couldn't feel the grip so well and convert it to the lap time.
“The most important day is tomorrow, however, and we have got pace in the car. We have been competitive this weekend and our target is to have a good race tomorrow; P3 is still a good place to start from.”
Mark Webber meanwhile will start seventh in the sister car and, like Vettel, he thought he would be further up the grid.
He could also find himself demoted five places if found guilty of obstructing Timo Glock in Q1.
“We expected to be higher than that. It was a tricky session and on every run the car felt a bit different,” Webber said. “We didn't have the rear-grip that we had in the other sessions; normally the super soft tyres give us a certain balance, but it was difficult to chase it in that session.
“It's disappointing to be seventh, but it's a long race tomorrow and we have a chance to get something from it.”
“After being competitive in FP1, 2 and 3, third and seventh is a strong result here, but perhaps not as strong as we would have hoped for,” summarised Red Bull Racing team principal, Christian Horner.
“Our rhythm in Q3 seemed to be slightly interrupted, but it's still close and it's a long and hot race tomorrow. I'm sure we can race well from third and seventh on the grid.”