RESULTS: Japanese Grand Prix – Qualifying results
Sebastian Vettel says he is really happy with his qualifying session despite narrowly losing out to teammate Kimi Raikkonen as both Ferraris outpaced the Red Bulls.
The German – who line up seventh on the grid having been served with a three-place grid penalty for his first lap incident in Malaysia – qualified fourth fastest and finished under a tenth of a second off third position.
However, it was defeating both Red Bull drivers on a circuit that, heading into this weekend was tipped to favour their rivals, has given Vettel optimism ahead of tomorrow's race.
“It's been a track that people forecasted as being quite poor [for us]” Vettel said. “It's been a very good day. The car felt good in qualifying, it was very tight.
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“It's even more of a pleasure to put both cars ahead [of Red Bull] but I think it's a combination of things. The car felt a lot better than last year. It's a track where you obviously need a stronger car to go faster. The gap ahead also is a lot smaller for us compared to previous events. I think the stuff we brought here seems to work.”
While beating both the Red Bull drivers proved welcome for both Vettel and Ferrari, the four-time world champion was left unsatisfied with his lap suggesting that qualifying third was within reach.
Vettel only made a marginal improvement of two-tenths of a second between the Q2 and Q3 sessions, while Raikkonen managed to improve his time by close to half a second.
“[I'm] not entirely happy because I think P3 was possible. But sector 2 and sector 3, I probably wanted a little bit too much in Q3 whereas Q2 was very good in that regard. With the penalty we have, we're still in reach of the cars in front.
“It's usually quite a challenging track looking at the downforce of the car and the handling. The fact that 1. we're in front of Red Bull and 2. we're closer than in the last couple of races to Mercedes, that's a good sign.”
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