Sebastian Vettel says he can take positives from his qualifying performance ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix having benefited from a 'big step' compared with Thursday, insisting he has a 'great car'
The Ferrari driver struggled for form in an unbalanced SF16-T on Thursday, but the team would take advantage of the extended break between sessions to transform his fortunes for Saturday.
Quickest of all for FP3, Vettel had hoped to challenge for pole position, but found himself unable to keep up with the rapid pace of Red Bull's Daniel Riccardo and the Mercedes', leaving him a frustrated fourth.
Nevertheless, Vettel says it is positive to see Ferrari revive his fortunes compared with Thursday, even if the momentum of his FP3 efforts couldn't be maintained.
“I wouldn't be too hard on our qualifying performance,” he said. “Certainly we suffered some problems in qualifying, I think we partially understood them, but here it's a different track and completely different tyres. I don't know if there are any similarities but the positive news is that the car was very quick this morning.
“It's not a big secret we were not good on Thursday but we made a big step for today. Unfortunately we weren't able to carry that momentum through the whole of qualifying. I don't think the lap times we saw at the end were a big surprise, I don't think they were out of reach it was just a question of us losing the rhythm.
“Obviously here you can have a double whammy, if you lose the rhythm you don't feel so confident and then you don't tend to click – as simple as that.”
Looking ahead to a race day where rain is predicted, Vettel admits such conditions could work to his advantage, not least because he feels he has a 'great car'.
“There might be some rain on Sunday and that might help us, you never know. In the end I love racing, but on some things you have to be realistic about. You have to be realistic about the fact it's difficult to overtake here, but that shouldn't drag us down tomorrow.
“We have a great car, we have great pace, but whether will be able to show it or not, depends on how the race unfold and the current leaders are doing.
“There's always a chance, a Safety Car at the right time for us and the wrong time for others, rain, in the end it's still Monaco, there's a lot of thinks that can happen, and it's a long way to the chequered flag. It can be very boring but it can be very exciting as well.”