Sebastian Vettel says he is unsure why he struggled for pace during qualifying for Formula 1’s British Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver could only manage sixth on the grid at Silverstone, having been outqualified by teammate Charles Leclerc and the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly.

Vettel ended up 0.694s down on polesitter Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes locked out the front row.

“At least I took part,” Vettel joked. “I just didn’t have the speed.

“Usually it’s pretty clear that you go faster from Q1 to Q3 without doing anything, but that didn’t happen today.

“I think Q1 we were as fast as in Q3, so it was a bit strange. I didn’t have a great feel for the car which didn’t help.”

Vettel trailed Leclerc throughout the weekend and ended up nearly half a second adrift of his Ferrari teammate in Q3.

Speaking about the deficit to Leclerc, Vettel said: “I think he did a good job but for me I don’t really have an answer now. I think it’s fairly evenly spread, he seems to gain a bit everywhere.

“I didn’t really have a great feeling this afternoon and part of it, around here, you need a bit of it to throw the car from one side to the other.”

And the German is anticipating a close fight in the race against the Red Bull duo.

“In the race it’s never a problem, normally it’s fine,” he added. “The Mercs will be quick but I think race-pace looks fine. It will be a tough battle between us and the Red Bulls.”