• Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel reluctant to blame exhaust layout for poor qualifying

ESPNF1 Staff
April 14, 2012 « Webber over-drives Q3 lap | Alonso hoping for rain on race day »
Sebastian Vettel: "I don't want to blame it on the car" © Getty Images
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Sebastian Vettel refused to blame his car for his poor qualifying performance at the Chinese Grand Prix, but admitted he couldn't shave off the extra tenths from his lap time when it mattered.

Vettel, who will start 11th in Sunday's race,opted to revert to a pre-season version of Red Bull's exhaust layout this weekend while team-mate Mark Webber, who qualified seventh, has continued with the latest version of the system used at the first two races. Vettel was 0.331s slower than his team-mate in Q2 and it was the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2009 that he has failed to make the top ten in qualifying.

"I opted for this [exhaust] solution on Friday afternoon simply because I felt more comfortable with this version," he said. "This morning it didn't feel that good anymore, so of course you start to think. But in the afternoon it had improved again but unfortunately not enough. With hindsight it is always easy to blame it on a wrong decision, but that decision felt right for me at that moment. Of course we will have to sit down and look into the matter to avoid such a situation in the future."

Vettel missed out on Q3 by 0.049s and admitted he could not find any more time from the car.

"Well, in the end the gap wasn't insurmountable - it just simply didn't happen," he added. "We haven't been fast enough. And I don't want to blame it on the car. In fact, I was quite pleased with it. I was doing almost identical times in all my three laps, which obviously means that there was no room for improvement. It's sad because, as I just said before, I felt quite good in the car."

As Vettel is starting from outside the top ten he can choose which tyres to start the race on while the drivers ahead will have to start on the tyres they qualified on.

"It will be a long and demanding race so there should be some chances to better the position. But of course it is always easier to start at the front and stay there. I have a new set of tyres still left so I can start on whatever tyres I like and that is probably the only positive in this situation. It may make life a bit easier tomorrow."