Vettel: Hamilton pole lap ‘not unbeatable’
The Ferrari driver headed into qualifying as the favourite to claim pole, with Mercedes anticipating a tricky weekend around a circuit the reigning world champions’ struggled for one lap pace at last year.
But Hamilton pulled off a sublime 1m36.015s on his opening run in Q3 to take a surprise pole, over 0.3s clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Vettel, who could only manage third on the grid after failing to improve on his final effort.
“I think the gap is quite big – I think Lewis had a really good lap, so congrats to him for the lap, I’m sure it was a good one but I don’t think it was unbeatable,” Vettel insisted.
“For us today, the way we composed qualifying, I think it was difficult to get a rhythm. It didn’t go the way we planned. I was struggling in Q1, Q2 and Q3.
“I think other people did a better job – that’s including Lewis’s lap as an individual but also them as a team. Obviously it’s not what we wanted today, to get third.”
Vettel believes it is “clear” Ferrari could have done much better in qualifying, given the pace the Italian squad had shown throughout practice in the build-up to qualifying, leaving him ruing a missed opportunity.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Lewis’s lap and their efforts as a team; they did great, which is why they’re on pole by quite a margin – that is not for debate,” he explained.
“I think for us it’s clear that we could’ve done better, and therefore we can’t be happy. For sure here and there we could’ve done better, maybe with preparing the lap, the qualifying.
“But in the end I had the laps and obviously they were not strong enough and good enough to be near.”
But Vettel is remaining confident about Ferrari’s prospects in Sunday’s race and expects the story to “look different”, as he attempts to reduce Hamilton’s 30 point lead in the championship.
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September 15, 2018 at 07:03PM