Sebastian Vettel’s qualifying session at the Austrian Grand Prix was brought to a premature end by a power unit issue that saw him unable to set a time in Q3.
Ferrari was quick throughout Saturday and Charles Leclerc duly went on to claim his second pole position of the season with an impressive performance. However, Vettel was prevented from running in the final part of qualifying, with Ferrari confirming a problem with the air pressure line to the engine was to blame.
“Obviously the car was broken, so we couldn’t fire it up and go, so we lost parts of Q2 and then Q3 completely,” Vettel explained after the session. “We fairly quickly made the decision to change, but it’s not so easy to take the bodywork off and get there. The guys did everything they could but we couldn’t do it in time.”
With Leclerc taking pole, Vettel admits the missed opportunity makes the problem even more tough to take as he knows how competitive Ferrari is in Austria.
“Obviously it’s frustrating but there’s nothing you can do, but it’s nobody’s fault. For sure we need to understand what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again but as I said, it’s nobody’s fault. We tried everything to fix it. I knew that if we fixed it, it would only be one run, so I was trying to focus solely on that but it didn’t happen.
“At least, as much as a pain it is, it’s also good to see that the other car came through and got the pole. I’m happy for the team but obviously not happy for my side. But we’ll have a good race tomorrow.”
As long as no power unit components need replacing, Vettel will start from ninth on the grid due to a five-place grid penalty for Kevin Magnussen — who originally qualified in fifth — for changing his gearbox.