It was a closely fought top 10 shoot out that saw Rosberg take pole position by just over two tenths of a second. Vettel rounded out the front row for Red Bull and his team-mate Mark Webber will line up tomorrow in seventh place.
Vettel said in a team statement “I’m not disappointed with that. Well done to Nico, it was a strong lap and it was all his today.” However he was unsure where he lost the time as he felt his lap was “fine”, adding “When I crossed the line I saw I was second on the screen and didn’t know how much I was missing to pole as the lap was fine. When I got told the gap to P1, it was clear that even with a perfect lap he was unbeatable today,”
He was happy with the end result though despite a mistake free lap, “but nevertheless I’m very happy. We managed to save some tyres throughout qualifying and it will be about tyre degradation tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens. It’s good to start from the front.”
However he does start from the unfavourably dirty side of the grid and away from the racing line which will hamper his getaway. Team-mate Mark Webber will start a little further back in seventh place. He was far from happy with his lap in the final session which was only good enough for fifth. His three-placed grid penalty from China will drop down the grid but due to others misfortunes he actually only drops down by two spots.
Reflecting on a difficult session he said “I would have liked to have got a bit more out of the car in that session and been a bit further up, but seventh with a penalty isn’t the end of the world. We have a different tyre strategy to some of the others and its a long grand prix, so let’s see how we go.”
The Aussie starts his 200th race tomorrow and commented on the achievement, something that only 10 others have achieved. He said “I’m proud to be starting my 200th grand prix tomorrow. When I was a youngster arriving in Formula One, I never thought I would be in the sport for so long. I have had some incredible highs and some tough lows, but that’s top line sport. I have learned a huge amount during that time, about myself and life in general.”
He also admitted that he still finds the enjoyment of racing, something that has caused former experienced racers to quit the sport. He added “The drive is still very strong for the sport; I will enjoy it a lot. It’s another number, but it would be good to get a good result to mark it.”
Webber has a tough race ahead of him but as he said on Friday, Qualifying is not everything and more often than not the race can change drastically. He will have to watch out for the bunching of the midfield into turn one and keep his nose clean but a good start will be key for him to make his strategy work and to get that good result he wants.
Speaking on his two drivers performance, Team Principal of Red Bull Racing Christian Horner said “Sebastian did a super job to qualify on the front row alongside Nico Rosberg. Mark, despite his three place penalty, will line up in seventh and with the way you can overtake at this track he’ll be able to make progress from there. So, a very solid qualifying and one we can hopefully build on in the race tomorrow.”
So Horner obviously eying room for improvement, particularly on Webber’s side after a few small errors when the time really counted, but clear optimism at Red Bull which shows their confidence in the race pace.
Image courtesy of Sky Sports F1