Sebastian Vettel says he “can’t be happy” with his qualifying record against Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc during the 2019 Formula 1 season.

Vettel trails Leclerc 11-7 in the head-to-heads and endured a run of nine straight qualifying defeats to his younger teammate until finally out-pacing him with his second pole position of the season in Japan. 

Speaking about his qualifying performances ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, Vettel said: “First of all Charles has done a very good job in qualifying.

“So I don’t think it’s right sitting here and not mentioning that - that needs to be appreciated.

“Here and there I didn’t have great sessions in qualifying, things maybe didn’t come together the way I would have liked.

“Here and there I think I missed out on qualifying for different reasons but overall I can’t be happy with overall with how qualifying was this year.

“So the goal for the final three races is to make sure we have a good Saturday, and not just only a good Sunday.”

After claiming back-to-back podiums and finishing ahead of Leclerc at the last two rounds, Vettel sits just six points behind the Monegasque in the battle to secure third place in the drivers’ standings.

Asked if his goal is now to beat Leclerc to third and if he thinks it will be important for 2020, Vettel replied: “Yes and no. It’s a sort of yes and no question.

"Yes of course the ambition is to finish third. Obviously we can’t finish first and second, so we try to finish third and I don’t think it matters for next year.

“As a team we have been fighting for very good positions in the last few races and we want to make sure that we can keep that up. Ideally win some of the last three races or all of them.”