Vettel: Mercedes are 'back to normal'

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

On the whole, the Finn has been very competitive in qualifying so far this season but was off the pace at the Circuit de Catalunya, finishing almost half a second behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton and lining up P4 on the grid.

The top ten all went out on super-softs at the start of Q3 with Hamilton smashing the records again in 1:16.491 to run three-tenths clear of nearest rival Verstappen as Red Bull mounted a stunning fight-back.

Vettel, who is four points behind Hamilton in the championship, said: "I was happy with the lap".

"It was a very close qualifying session today and it took everything we've got to take pole". It is now more challenging and you see us more exhausted after the race. "Now we want to get the one-two we deserved in Baku..." "It is going to be relatively close between the top three teams but I can't really say who is quickest at the moment". It is a shame it is only four-hundredths, but it is good for the team.

Vettel said he was "not entirely happy" but already expected Mercedes to be strong. Ferrari, unexpectedly, were pushed back to fifth and seventh, 0.7 and 1.7 seconds adrift respectively with Ricciardo third for Red Bull before the final runs when Hamilton delivered his stunner.

But the reigning world champion admitted his Azerbaijan GP triumph did not feel as sweet due to the circumstances - Bottas suffered a puncture and Vettel locked up - and Hamilton is determined to win in a different manner on Sunday. "It is a little bit disheartening as I don't really know what I could have done more".

Romain Grosjean, who crashed under the safety vehicle in Azerbaijan, was the first to face trouble in the afternoon session, losing control of his Haas and getting stuck on the gravel.

Pogba is staying at Manchester United, believes Mourinho
He has had a major doubt on the mental state of his team, post stating that something "doesn't smell right" within the club. I think it's normal that during the season, you have your low moments, but in a balanced way.

His fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz was ninth in the Renault, whose other driver Nico Hulkenberg, usually faster, was hampered by a fuel-pressure problem and could manage only 16th.

But the German lost out by 0.132secs on this track that exposes the aerodynamic qualities of a vehicle like few others.

There was some disquiet with the rear-view mirrors Ferrari mounted on the halos.

Brendon Hartley of Torro Rosso could not participate in qualifying after an incident during FP3 that left his vehicle damaged with just two hours left for qualifying. Stroll stepped on to the gravel at Turn 12 and spun into the barriers to bring a premature end to his session.

"In the end it's hard to say that it was enjoyable because our vehicle balance was very bad and it was very hard to drive, so it was hard to enjoy", Kubica said.

Williams was the slowest team in qualifying, with Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll 18th and 19th.

Race organizers said additional security was implemented after several cars were broken into at a closed parking lot for the media at the track.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.