Sebastian Vettel conceded Ferrari was “beaten fair and square” in Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying after missing out on pole position to Max Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver dominated qualifying in Sao Paulo and topped every session on his way to posting the fastest time in Q3, with Ferrari’s Vettel ending up 0.123s adrift in second place.

But Vettel had no complaints about his effort and ultimately felt Verstappen’s pole effort was “a bit far away” to challenge.

“I was having a very good attempt in Q3, went a little bit wide at the final turn,” Vettel said. “But I don’t think I was the only one.

“I think Max’s time was a bit far away so I think we have to admit we got beaten fair and square.

“[The balance] was getting better and better. I think we were a bit shy yesterday, more aggressive this morning which was a step forward and then in qualifying it seemed to go up and get better.

“But I think the track ramped up. It was good to get on the front row.”

After facing accusations from Verstappen in the United States about how Ferrari is using its engine, Vettel joked he found it “suspicious” how competitive the Honda-powered Red Bull was on the straights at Interlagos.

“Obviously there is no progress from one race to another, because it’s the same engine I suppose,” he added.

“I don’t think they have introduced a new spec, so it was a bit of a surprise.

“Usually we’ve seen a lot of qualifying sessions and we were a bit faster than everyone in the straight, losing a bit in the corners, but today we were as quick or Max and Alex were as fast down the straights as us.

“That’s about it, I don’t know why. I know we didn’t do anything different.”

 

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