Sebastian Vettel admits he is puzzled by Ferrari’s disappointing performance in an extremely wet Italian Grand Prix Qualifying session.
After the whole qualifying hour was delayed because of treacherous conditions and a crash for Romain Grosjean, the track appeared to be drying out, but the rain poured down again just as the third qualifying segment got underway.
The German driver showed strong pace throughout the first two qualifying sessions on Intermediate tyres, but ended Q3 a whole 2.5 seconds off the pace of pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton on Wet compound tyres, exactly the same as everyone else.
Vettel finished the session in eighth place, behind his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who also struggled for the duration of Q3.
Penalties for the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo ahead, means the two prancing horse’s will start the race from fifth and sixth, Raikkonen and Vettel respectively.
“Surprised, let’s say, by how quick the others went,” Vettel said when questioned on Ferrari’s severe lack of pace in the wet.
“Clearly we couldn’t go the same pace as everyone else.
“At this stage we don’t know why, I’m sure there’s a couple of things we’ll look into and try to understand, nevertheless it was an important day. Something didn’t work, it didn’t come together.”
“We were just not quick enough today,” he added. “Both of us, struggling, I guess, and not being able to do the same what other people are doing.”
Vettel denied that setup complications were a cause of the poor showing from Ferrari, and also opposed claims that others perfected a wet setup for their cars.
“You set up the car to go as fast as you can, and the classic rain set-ups don’t exist any more. I doubt if anyone set up the car for the wet today.
“I mean, all of the laps were pretty much the same, the conditions didn’t get better in my point of view, so we were doing more or less the same every lap.”
Raikkonen also felt that he struggled with the car, especially in Q3, “We are not fast enough,” he said.
“From my car, I don’t know about the other car, but I struggle a lot with the grip.
“Either we didn’t make the tyres work, or whatever it is, it’s very slippery, that’s for sure. Especially with the low downforce, you cannot put enough force in the tyres and it’s a never-ending story then.”
Image: Scuderia Ferrari Formula One Team