Sebastian Vettel says his Ferrari was just not quick enough after he qualified a relatively lowly sixth for the United States Grand Prix.
Vettel was pipped for fifth at the end of Q3 by team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, but was more disappointed to be over a second off Lewis Hamilton's pole lap, and six tenths off Max Verstappen's Red Bull in fourth.
UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX – Qualifying results
“Qualifying was not so good and for sure we are not pleased with the gap to the cars ahead,” Vettel said.
“It was not the best session for me: the car felt fine, but in the end we were not just quick enough. For sure in Q3 I could have done a slightly better lap, but at the end of the day obviously we are missing a bit compared to the cars in front. Probably in my last lap I was a bit too aggressive.
“There remains a bit of a question mark at this point, at least on why we were so competitive in fast corners in Suzuka and here we are missing out; but then again we are missing out across all sectors.
“Hopefully the race will go better.”
Pressed on the reason for the gap, he added: “To be honest I don't know [why we are not closer]. [As I said] the feeling inside the car is not too bad, but we seemed to struggle a little bit more here for pace than previous weekends.
“I think in all fairness quali didn't look too bad until Q3, where I think we were not able to make a big enough step. In the end we are not happy with the gap, but as I said we are here to race and the race is tomorrow. You never know, with a good start and with a good strategy, I think we can move forward.”
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Meanwhile, Vettel defended Ferraris decision not to try and get through Q2 on the soft tyre, as Mercedes did, and also as Verstappen did.
“There is nothing wrong with our tyre strategy. We have one set of medium tyres in case we need it and I think as we have seen this weekend, the track is improving, which usually makes it better and better on the softer tyres. We were able to keep some new [supersoft] tyres and the plan is obviously to benefit from them tomorrow.
“It could be an interesting race: tyre degradation is always important, it could play a big role tomorrow,” he concluded.
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