• Italian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel doesn't expect to challenge for victory

ESPN Staff
September 8, 2012 « Button expecting tough race despite lockout | It'll be tough to challenge McLaren - Schumacher »
Sebastian Vettel's Saturday was hampered by an alternator failure in FP3 © Press Association

Sebastian Vettel doesn't expect to challenge for victory in the Italian Grand Prix after admitting sixth place in qualifying was a bonus for Red Bull.

Red Bull had appeared to be slightly off the pace over one lap with Vettel never finishing a practice session any higher than 11th. However, in qualifying he was able to drag the car up to sixth place and will start fifth after Paul di Resta takes a penalty for a gearbox change, and Vettel said that was a better result than he'd have predicted after FP3.

"I think P6 was probably the maximum we could get today," Vettel said. "The final attempt was a bit messy with traffic, I tried to get a bit of a tow but it probably wasn't working perfectly. Nevertheless I think sixth on the grid and with Paul [di Resta]'s penalty to start from fifth is more than we probably expected from this morning to be honest.

"I think [the pace is] a different story here compared to other races and it's not a big secret; we are not quick enough on the straights and equally we are not quick enough in the corners so if you combine the two it's difficult to be fastest."

Vettel is hopeful of a more competitive showing in the race on Sunday, but ruled out challenging for victory.

"I think race pace should be a little bit better. It's difficult to know what's going to happen but I think since yesterday we made progress and if anything our most competitive run was the long run yesterday so we should be in better shape. But obviously we have to wait and see how the others are, how quick they will be; maybe they have made little tweaks and adjustments but I think we should be alright in the race.

"Surely we are not expected to win. I think the pace was not there at any time this weekend. I'm looking forward for a good race, a good car in the race but it's difficult to know what we can do."

An alternator problem stopped Vettel late in FP3, and he admitted it was a slight concern going in to the grand prix.

"It was a big surprise. It happened this morning so we didn't expect it at all. After what happened earlier this year in Valencia we had a fix and we were convinced that we would not run in to any kind of problem again, therefore it was a big surprise. At the moment it is not clear why it happened and it's very difficult to react because you obviously just put a spare alternator in the car. But I'm reasonably confident with the mileage we have done so far without any trouble that we should be fine tomorrow."