Sebastian Vettel says an aggressive approach in Mexican Grand Prix qualifying failed to pay off, though he thinks he got the most out of his Ferrari Formula 1 car.

The German, who needs to win in Mexico this weekend to have any chance of keeping alive his fading title hopes, looked a contender to challenge for the front-row of the grid after the opening runs in Q3.

But a couple of small errors on his final flying lap prevented him from improving as Daniel Ricciardo pipped Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen to pole position, before title rival Lewis Hamilton demoted Vettel to fourth thanks to a last-gasp effort.

“I was really happy with the lap,” Vettel insisted.

“I knew that it would be difficult to try and match the Red Bulls so I had to try something different but it didn’t work.

“I don’t think I could’ve gone much faster. It was obviously a pity to drop back.

“I tried to be a little bit more aggressive out of turn three and lost the rear but that didn’t cost too much time.

“But then mostly in the high-speed section I think we lose quite a lot in the last sector so we tried to just find something extra but again lost the rear.

“In the end it was not dramatic, the lap was a tenth down compared to the lap before, but enough not to improve.”

Ferrari and Mercedes had struggled to get within a second of the Red Bull duo on an unusually uncompetitive Friday, though Vettel ended up missing out on pole by just over two tenths.

Asked where he feels Ferrari’s main deficit to Red Bull has been so far this weekend, Vettel replied: “I think it’s the aero.

“I think we are quite fast on the straight, but I think mostly because we have less downforce than the others. Therefore, we are faster on the straights but slower in the corners.

“This is probably not the track where efficiency counts so much so you need all the downforce you can get. I think it was expected that Red Bull was quick, also with the turbo that the Renault engine has, they lose less power up here.”



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