Vettel surprised by gap after maximizing Ferrari pace

Image by Glenn Dunbar/LAT

Vettel surprised by gap after maximizing Ferrari pace

Formula 1

Vettel surprised by gap after maximizing Ferrari pace

Sebastian Vettel feels he maximized the pace of his Ferrari during qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix and admits he was surprised by the gap to Mercedes.

Ferrari has been a threat to Mercedes on a number of occasions in qualifying this year, with Vettel securing pole position five times so far, but he was over half a second adrift of pole winner Valtteri Bottas in Sochi. While the margin was unexpected, Vettel says Ferrari got the most out of its car on Saturday.

“It’s been a bit of a tricky one for us,” Vettel said. “We didn’t have the pace by quite a big gap, which is a surprise but it is like this and we will fight as much as we can tomorrow.

“To be honest, I was pretty happy. I think the car was pretty good. The balance was pretty good. I think it peaked in Q3 just the way it should so I think we got everything we could.

“I had a tiny bit of a mistake because I knew I had half a second to find, not just a couple of hundredths, so should have been two-tenths up on the last lap — but I was pretty happy with the car. It’s not like there’s a big issue with car balance. I think we reached our full potential today.”

Vettel does not believe there is a specific difference between Ferrari’s performance at the last race in Singapore and this weekend in Russia, having failed to qualify on the front row on either occasion.

“Singapore I think we were looking a bit more competitive until qualifying. Then, for various reasons, we didn’t get a very good session but I think also on Sunday it was true that we didn’t have enough pace. I don’t think anything has happened, to be honest,” he said.

“I think the races that we’ve seen so far have been quite close. I don’t think there was a race where we had really that superior pace in the race. I think it was always a match on Sunday, at best for us.

“On Saturday I think it’s been one way or the other — yesterday we didn’t get a very good feeling but I think today the car was really good and I was quite happy in qualifying. I didn’t have much to complain about but we’re still not quick enough, so I think it’s just what we saw today. Tomorrow is the race and that’s what we focus on now.”

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