Vettel “didn't have grip” in final Q3 run after upshift mystery

Sebastian Vettel will start the French GP from seventh on the grid after a missed upshift caught him out on his first run in Q3 – leaving the Ferrari driver under pressure with just one run in which to set a time.

Vettel “didn't have grip” in final Q3 run after upshift mystery

On his first run in the top-10 qualifying shootout Vettel couldn’t get into fourth gear out of Turn 9, so he opted to abort the lap without recording a lap time. The German didn’t feel comfortable with his car on the second and final run, and he could not better seventh, losing out to teammate Charles Leclerc, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz.

“I don't know why I missed the upshift,” he explained. “And then I lost so much momentum that it was pointless to finish the lap, so I aborted. But then on the last lap I don't know, I just couldn't feel the same car that I had maybe in other parts of qualifying.

“It was difficult for me because some laps it was really good and it was just coming, and other laps, I don't know why I didn't have the grip that I seemed to have the runs before. So, a shame that it happened in Q3, it would've been better to be slower in the other segments, but that's what it is today.

“Not ideal, obviously a bit of a funny session, I didn't get a consistent feel for the car, and didn't extract the maximum today, so can't be happy with that. But on the other hand, I’m looking forward to tomorrow, I think it's much more straightforward and should be more consistent in the race. So let's see what tomorrow brings.”

More F1 news:

Vettel remains optimistic about his chances of recovering ground in the race, having finished fifth last year despite falling to the rear of the field after a first-corner collision.

“We'll see, I mean if I pass as many cars as last year, then I'm going to win the race!” he quipped. “It's a long race, it will be difficult to manage the tyres, to be honest. But I'm sure that in the race things settle down a little bit more and I should have a better feel.”

Regarding the McLarens that will start ahead he said: “I think they showed some good pace this weekend, so it won't be easy, but I think we are faster. Tomorrow I think we have good pace to have a good race.

“Obviously Mercedes is far away but we should be in the mix with Red Bull.”

shares
comments
Gasly blames wrong set-up direction for qualifying struggle

Previous article

Gasly blames wrong set-up direction for qualifying struggle

Next article

Mercedes unreliability being "saved" by mechanics - Wolff

Mercedes unreliability being "saved" by mechanics - Wolff
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event French GP
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Author Adam Cooper
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021
The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments Prime

The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments

The news this week that F1 has green-lit 'sprint qualifying' races that will determine the grid for three grands prix in 2021 was met with a blend of excitement and scepticism. But before those in both camps can be vilified, F1 must first work out what its criteria is for success - and what will justify making them a more permanent fixture

Formula 1
Apr 28, 2021