Sebastian Vettel confident Red Bull can move forward in race after qualy frustration
Vettel missed Q2 again, but will start ahead of penalised Ricciardo
By James Galloway and Mike Wise in Bahrain. Last Updated: 05/04/14 9:32pm
Sebastian Vettel is optimistic Red Bull will be able to recover from their midfield grid positions in the Bahrain GP after problems on his car in qualifying compounded Daniel Ricciardo's grid penalty for the World Champions.
For the second time in three races since the start of the season Vettel failed to progress through Q2 with the German's pace compromised by glitches with his RB10's gearbox and lingering problems which left him down on power on Sakhir's array of straights.
With team-mate Ricciardo already carrying a ten-place grid penalty into the weekend after Red Bull's unsafe pit release in Malaysia, it means that the World Champions' two cars will line up in the unfamiliar positions of tenth and 13th - their worst combined result since last year's Chinese GP.
Vettel, who gained a position courtesy of Ricciardo's drop from an otherwise encouraging third on the grid, missed out on the top-ten shootout by a mere six hundredths of a second, although the German chose not to wholly blame his car's problems for his early exit.
"We had some issues with the shifts for some reason from one run to the other, from the final run of Q1 to Q2," the World Champion explained to reporters.
"Something went wrong and we couldn't fix it in time so I had to do the lap compromised. How much it affected the lap is difficult to measure but surely it was no help.
"The car behaviour wasn't the way I expected and the way I wanted. But I'm not a fan of blaming something in particular. For sure that didn't help, without it for sure yes I would have made it to Q3, but still it was not the session that we wanted to have this evening."
Vettel lost most of P3 after beaching his car
As well as losing a "little bit of performance down the straights" owing to issues with his RB10's wastegate, Vettel had earlier lost running time in Practice Three after spinning off the circuit - an incident he admitted had come about because of driver error.
Yet despite his problematic Saturday, Vettel believes both he and Ricciardo will be able to come through the field to some extent over the 57 laps of racing.
"It depends who I have to overtake, but I think it's always possible," he insisted.
"I hope we find the right strategy to make sure we can use the pace of the car. Once we are in free air we should be fine but obviously it's a bit easier to be in free air when you start from pole rather than tenth."
But while Red Bull might harbour hope of fighting their way back towards the top five, any challenge for the very top positions at Sakhir had already looked forlorn prior to qualifying given Mercedes' large pace advantage over the field.
Vettel conceded the dominance of the W05s hadn't come as a surprise.
"We felt already in testing that it's a difficult track for us," he admitted.
"We are down on power so around here you need some power. That's how it is. I think for tomorrow nevertheless we had a good chance to put the car in a fairly good place in the points."
Sky Sports F1's exclusively live coverage of the Bahrain GP begins at 2.30pm UK Time, with the race underway at 4pm