Sebastian Vettel was astonished on Saturday at his eleventh time in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix. His Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc did not do much better with a seventh place.
“Of course this is a surprise,” Vettel told Sky Sports. “We had the feeling that we were in a better position, but apparently other teams drove with more petrol in the training sessions or did they hold back.”
It was the first time for Vettel since driving for Ferrari in 2015 that he was unable to reach Q3 purely on the basis of speed. “I was not very happy with my car, especially because I was very upset,” the German explained.
Ferrari did not make a great impression during the test days in February, but qualifying in Austria was only the first moment when the car was seriously tested.
Ferrari was almost second faster in qualifying GP Austria last year
That test was disastrous. With 1.03.923, Leclerc had to concede almost a full second to the pole time of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas (1.02.939).
Last year Ferrari was almost a second faster on the Red Bull Ring, Leclerc then took pole position in 1.03.003. Later that year, the Ferrari engine was banned by the FIA.
The Italian team reached a settlement with the motorsport association and avoided a penalty for the illegal motorcycle. Even this weekend, Mercedes and Red Bull team bosses still openly expressed surprise at the fact that the content of the settlement is being kept secret by the FIA.
Leclerc tries to remain positive
Leclerc couldn’t possibly be satisfied with his seventh starting place. “Unfortunately, this is how we are currently doing.”
“We have to stay positive and look for the pros. That’s the only way we can improve and get out of this awkward position.”
Vettel also tried to keep up the courage. “Tomorrow it will be a different picture. Our car is always better at the race distance. We will try to make good ground and score as many points as possible.”
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