Ferrari left cold by Williams pace
Ferrari has been left dejected by being locked out of the first two rows of the grid after qualifying for the British Grand Prix.
The Scuderia has been runaway title favourite Mercedes’ closest competitor this season, but it was unable to capitalise on solid practice pace during qualifying.
Kimi Räikkönen heads Sebastian Vettel on row three in places five and six for tomorrow’s race, but the Finn has marked down the performance to nothing more than the team having a choppy session rather than anything deeper rooted.
“It wasn’t a very smooth qualifying, to be honest,” said the Finn. “I think we could have done it better.
“The main thing is that we got through after qualifying two. It was quite tricky to get the laps together, but I think the windy conditions affected it — one lap was fine, and the next was a bit different.”
Nonetheless, Räikkönen felt he and the team left pace on the table, and with smoother running the second row might have been possible.
“On the last two new tyres in Q3 I couldn’t manage to put the sectors together to improve,” he said.
“I could’ve been third or something, but we did our best. It’s just a bit disappointing to be where we are in fifth. We’ll try to do better tomorrow.”
Sebastian Vettel concurred that Saturday afternoon the Ferrari garage had been rough.
“I think on our side it was not a completely smooth session,” he said. “I think we could’ve operated a little bit together.
“Plus in terms of the feel of the car it wasn’t as good as it was in some of the practice sessions. I think I was struggling a bit.
“Then for my final attempt I tried to make it happen but I made a mistake — obviously that doesn’t help to improve grid position if you don’t really close the lap.”
Ferrari’s underperformance combined with an increasingly competitive Williams outfit to create a perfect storm, locking the Scuderia out of the top four positions by two tenths of a second.
“Williams was very competitive in quali,” said Vettel. “I think it was a bit of a surprise if you look at their times yesterday.
“But then it’s nothing new — if you take the global picture of last year, Williams was pretty normal on Friday and then pretty strong on Saturday and Sunday, so it seems to be the case this year.
“They were probably just a bit too quick for us.”
With tomorrow likely to be a one-top race, Vettel sees only one way forward on Sunday.
“Go quicker and pass them on track!
“For sure we know it’s difficult. First of all, they’re very quick. Second, they’re very quick down the straights.
“Hopefully tomorrow we can turn it around with a great start and opening lap, and we can go from there.”
On Räikkönen’s side of the garage, despite missing out on the second row, the afternoon was the first of the season in which he outqualified Sebastian Vettel in a straight fight unaffected by technical problems.
The Finn played the milestone typically coolly.
“It doesn’t make me any more happy when we’re in fifth and sixth,” he remarked. “I don’t care if he’s in front of me when we’re in these positions; it only makes a difference if we’re going to be P1 and P2.
“It doesn’t make me happy to be in front of him in the position we are. Maybe people look at it differently, but it’s just a number.”