Sebastian Vettel says he is as surprised as anyone that Ferrari's form took an unexpected dip during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, the former champion starting sixth.

The German had looked like a potential pole position contender in FP3 as he got to within two tenths of the pace setting Mercedes', but struggled to mount a challenge when it mattered in qualifying.

Out-qualified by both Red Bulls, as well as his own team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, Vettel admits he is baffled to see both Ferrari drivers more than a second off the pace, but is certain there is 'a reason' for it.

"I don't think it was a general lack of speed," he conceded. "I think we proved in all the sessions so far that we are quite competitive, so it was as a surprise to us as it was to you. We don't yet understand but I'm sure there is a reason for it. Yes the conditions changed but I think that something made us fall out of the window and we lost quite a lot of competitiveness in comparison."

"The lap was a bit messy and it didn't really come but for a reason the car didn't feel as good as it did this morning, which we need to understand why."

Despite this, Vettel remains certain Ferrari has a generally stronger package than the Red Bulls, saying the unexpected result is more Ferrari 'not performing' than their rivals excelling.

"I don't think they are [quicker] in general, I think we are quicker than them but for sure today in these circumstances yes we didn't have a great day. I think it was more us not performing than Mercedes or Red Bull being better. Also if you look behind people weren't closer to us than in practice."



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