Sebastian Vettel called Ferrari’s disappointing performance in qualifying for the Austrian Formula 1 Grand Prix after being eliminated in the second quarter, “a surprise”.
Ferrari expected to fight on the Red Bull Ring after revealing that it had delayed bringing any updates for its SF1000 car to the Hungarian Grand Prix, opting to change its aerodynamic approach.
But 12 months after Charles Leclerc’s position at pole position on the same track, Ferrari only got one car until Q3 after Vettel finished 11th in the second qualifying phase.
Leclerc made it to the final qualifying stage in tenth place before finally finishing seventh in Q3, dragging the cars of Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Racing Point.
After learning that he only finished tenth in Q2, Leclerc told his engineer that he was “crazy” while Vettel was shocked by Ferrari’s struggles.
“Obviously it’s a surprise,” said Vettel of his qualifying performance.
“We thought we had a little more in hand, but it seems that the others were probably fueling a little more fuel, a little more conservative in practice.
“I wasn’t happy with the car, I wasn’t happy with the car, much more oversteer at the entrance than I would have liked. But we’ll see.”
Vettel was more optimistic about Ferrari’s chances for Sunday’s race, believing that higher temperatures than Friday’s free practice worked against the team.
“Tomorrow is a different image,” said Vettel.
“I think that with the track getting a little warmer today it was a little more expensive for us.
“It’s a long race. I think we are always better in the race set-up. I think we will be there to recover good ground and score good points.”
Leclerc only got into P7 after improving his second lap time, having been the slowest of the drivers to set a time during the first Q3 races.
He overtook qualifying Carlos Sainz Jr. of McLaren, and followed midfielder leaders Lando Norris and Sergio Perez.
Valtteri Bottas took pole position for Mercedes in Austria ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, with Red Bull also bringing both of his cars to the top five.