Sebastian Vettel says he did not get everything out of qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix amid Ferrari confusion due to rain at the start of Q3.
After two dry parts of qualifying, rain started falling just as Q3 was due to begin, with all of the drivers heading out on slick tires for the start of the session. The track proved too wet and all bar the Force Indias returned to the pits at the end of their first laps, with Vettel saying Ferrari wasn’t clear on what to do in the circumstances once he returned to the garage.
“It was confusion!” Vettel said. “When all of a sudden it starts to rain like this, from a team point of view you have to manage two cars and Kimi was rushing to get back out and then in the end, now you look, it’s sunshine and it’s nearly dry again.
“I didn’t also know what to do, I had a bit of traffic, then I had the track drying up and I wanted to save a bit of tires, and I had a bit of traffic with Esteban in front, and then you know that any lap could be the lap but equally you know the lap will be at the end if it continues to dry up.
“Yeah, maybe I was also not as calm as can be in the car and in the end happy with second, first row for tomorrow and we have strong pace, so anything can happen.”
And Vettel says it wasn’t just confusion within the team that hurt his chances of securing pole position, having lost out to Lewis Hamilton by over 0.7s.
“It was a weird… it’s not rain, it’s not dry, it’s something in between. I knew that all of the laps don’t matter but the last one, so I was pushing, because you also don’t know whether you will have a red flag or somebody loses it in these conditions, very likely. So I stayed on track and everything was fine, but I never closed the lap until the last one.
“Obviously it was a bit chaotic and not great from a management point of view, I think. You don’t know how much it’s going to dry up and if there’s more rain coming, but I don’t feel we put everything together in the last lap. We ran out of battery and that was quite costly for nearly the whole lap and yeah, I just think it wasn’t a nice ending to a great qualifying up to that point.
“I mean, very exciting with these cars. Even in the damp conditions in the end it’s quite impressive, you know, you do Eau Rouge and you don’t have to downshift, you do it in eighth gear and it’s sort of flat even if it’s damp and you’re on intermediates. So great fun but obviously not very rewarding when you know that you could have done a bit better, but we start in second now, which puts us in a good place, and tomorrow we have a long race.
“We have a car to fight, a car to overtake so it should be good fun tomorrow.”