Sebastian Vettel concedes seeking the benefit of a slipstream during qualifying for Formula 1’s Belgian Grand Prix ended up being a “lose-lose” tactic.

The German ended up over seven-tenths down on Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc in qualifying at Spa, as he was forced to settle with second place on the grid.

Unlike Leclerc, Vettel attempted to gain a tow from other cars but both of his Q3 runs were hampered after he became bottled up in traffic, resulting in his tyres falling out of the ideal operating window.

“I think I was getting into a sort of rhythm, maybe it took a bit longer for me today to get all of the car, it felt quite good but then in Q3 it was quite messy with everyone trying to get a tow,” Vettel said.

“There was quite a lot of queening for the last corner which made it very tricky and then the tyres are obviously not were they were supposed to be and being further back, it wasn’t ideal.

"It was more important to get the tyres in the right place on both laps too. I was too close to the cars in front and the tyres were not right to start the lap with.

“It was a lose-lose,” he added. “The straights were good but I was too close and lost quite a bit in the second sector.

"Obviously Charles did a better job today, also with that, and now looking forward to tomorrow. I felt the car was quite good, which is the most important thing.

“Let’s see tomorrow with the change in ambient conditions and track conditions what the race is going to be like.”

Asked if he felt there was a specific reason why he had struggled to get up to speed as quickly as his teammate, Vettel replied: “No not really, nothing out of the ordinary.

“I think it was just quite tricky to get the car where I wanted it to be for one lap and it was better in qualifying, I struggled a little bit yesterday afternoon and this morning but by qualifying it was fine.

“Towards the last part of qualifying was a bit messy again, and not ideal preparing the lap. Not happy with the final attempt, it wasn’t clean but I’m not worried.”

 

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