We thought that our time would be enough, that was Sebastian Vettel's simple and honest explanation after he was eliminated in the first part of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.
Vettel finished Q1 at the Yas Marina Circuit just on the wrong side of the cut off, 0.012s off Pastor Maldonado's Lotus and place in Q2. It means he will now have to line up 16th on the grid for the 2015 F1 season finale, some 13 spots lower than Ferrari team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, who went on to secure third, 'best of the rest' behind the two Mercedes'.
“We thought that our time would be enough and it turned out not to be. Not very spectacular, but that's what happened,” Vettel explained.
“He [Kimi] was quicker, so in the end I should have done a quicker lap. We could have made it, but as I said we thought it was enough in that moment, but it wasn't. Obviously it was quite costly, but we know what happened and now we need to start the race from further back. That's what happened.”
Asked if the reason for the miscalculation was down to a change in conditions, he replied: “We try every weekend to do our best and obviously this weekend we didn't get it right. It's a small mistake with a big consequence, and obviously tomorrow it means that there are a lot of cars that are ahead of us that shouldn't be ahead of us, so it's up to us to turn it around.”
Meanwhile, looking to the race, Vettel is hopeful he can come through the field, even if it isn't the easiest track to overtake on.
“It's better than Monaco!” the four-time Formula One World Champion countered. “It depends who you want to overtake, as you get further up it naturally becomes more difficult.
"But there are a lot of cars that we are quite a bit quicker than, so hopefully we can clear them. It's a long race, so hopefully we can do something with strategy etc. We have to be awake, be ready and I think you can overtake even if sometimes it's not easy. It's not impossible.”
When it was pointed out he got fifth in Canada after qualifying in the same position, Vettel added: “It's a different circuit but I think we are similarly competitive, so I think we are quicker than the cars right in front of us. It always depends on the start and the first couple of laps and strategy depending on whether there is a safety car or not, which brings the field back together.
"There are a lot of variables and in the end we will try to race hard and then we will see where we are.”