• Bahrain Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel: Downshift issue cost us Q3

ESPN Staff
April 5, 2014 « Car feeling better than ever - Raikkonen | Sutil handed five-place penalty for Grosjean incident »
Sebastian Vettel is still confident of a strong finish on Sunday © Sutton Images
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Sebastian Vettel admitted his elimination from Q2 in Sakhir was down to an ongoing issue with his downshifts but is convinced the issue to be resolved for Sunday's race.

Vettel had a frustrating day on Saturday, spinning out of FP3 before falling into the drop zone in the final moments of Q2. He only managed one late run in the session and Vettel admitted the ongoing issues meant he was not able to utilise the full performance of his RB10.

"Obviously there's still a lot of tuning going on in the background so for my final run we had some issues with my downshifts which upset the balance," he said. "Equally it was the only shot I had in Q2. It was quite close and good for Kimi who was 10th, and bad for me who was 11th at that stage. A couple of reasons why, in the end I don't think exactly I was able to extract 100% out of the car. We had some issues with the shifts for some reason from the final run in Q1 to Q2.

"Something went wrong and we couldn't fix it in time so I had to do the lap compromised. How much it affected the lap is difficult to measure but surely it was no help, the car behaviour was not how I expected it or wanted it. I'm not a fan of blaming something in particular. That didn't help it and without it I would have made it to Q3, but still it was not the session we didn't want to have.

Vettel also insisted he "should be the same" as Daniel Ricciardo tomorrow in terms of pace, suggesting he is confident the issue will be resolved before lights out. But he also revealed Red Bull is working on more general issues currently holding the car back.

"We have been working on this quite a lot, we are not yet where we are. I'm not happy where we are with the car going in under braking. Basically getting to the apex. It's a lot of stuff ahead of us."

Vettel starts Sunday's race 10th after Ricciardo's 10-place grid penalty but, despite there being a group of Mercedes-powered cars in front of him, he is confident he can show the Red Bull's true pace if it does not have any further issues.

"It depends who I have to overtake but it's always possible. I hope we can find the right strategy to make sure we can use the pace of the car. Once we are in free air we will be fine but obviously it's a bit easier to be in free air when you start from 10th or 11th. We felt already during testing that it was a tough track for us, we are down on power and around here you need some power. That's how it is. But I think tomorrow we have a good chance to put the car in a fairly good place in the points."