Vettel baffled by qualy pace
"The time didn't come," World Champion admits
By Mike Wise at Spa. Last Updated: 01/09/12 6:04pm
Vettel hoping for better performance
Sebastian Vettel was left bemused by his qualifying performance at the Belgian Grand Prix but still has hopes of a strong race result on Sunday.
The defending World Champion missed out on a place in the final qualifying session by just one hundredth of a second at Spa-Francorchamps but will line up 10th on the grid owing the gearbox penalty meted out to team-mate Mark Webber.
Vettel denied that driver error played a part and also said he had been happy with his car's set-up, even though Friday's wash-out forced teams to hurry through their programmes on Saturday morning.
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"I didn't make a mistake and there was no problem with the car. We lost out a little bit to get to Q3, if you have another run then maybe it's another story," Vettel said.
"At the time I was pretty happy with the lap I had but the time didn't come. This morning I was pretty happy to be honest and this afternoon it was just...not coming towards us."
With less than four-tenths-of-a-second separating eight of the top ten runners, the margin between success and failure was once again fine in Q2.
Vettel lost out to Williams driver Pastor Maldonado but last year's Belgian Grand Prix winner is nevertheless confident he can make headway in the race.
"The good news is that there's no points today so obviously we'll try to have a good race. I think the pace in the race is fine, this morning seemed quite good and we'll go from there," Vettel added.
"I think we should be in a good position tomorrow, better than probably on other circuits. First of all the nature of the track works in your favour, so we're not relying entirely on the DRS zone to overtake.
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"We can overtake in other places, and I think we were quite comfortable last year here to overtake.
"For sure overtaking is possible - anything can happen tomorrow."
Saturday was a struggle in more ways than one for Vettel. When not grappling with a faulty microphone during his post-qualifying press session, he also picked up a €10,000 fine for an illegal practice start in the pit lane at the end of FP3.
"We obviously practiced a pit stop and you're not supposed to leave your box - and I left the box. I was probably training a bit too hard," he admitted.