Ferrari were left to scrap over the third row of the grid after a lack of overall pace saw them outqualified by both Mercedes and Red Bull in Spain, with both drivers surprised about the drop in performance.
For much of qualifying in was Red Bull rookie Max Verstappen heading the challenge to Mercedes, a role which was expected to be for Ferrari and more specifically Sebastian Vettel who had looked the faster of their drivers. It was Kimi Raikkonen who ended up slightly faster than Vettel, starting from fifth position on the grid.
After qualifying the Finnish driver said, “It was not an easy day: we did our best, but the result is a bit disappointing.
“We seemed to struggle quite a lot in the last sector and I’m not surprised we were losing a lot of time there. Before qualifying we made some changes to my set-up and the car felt better, but it was not easy to get the laps that we wanted and make the handling exactly as we desired.
“The car felt ok yesterday, today I was quicker, but the wind has been turning around a bit, making some places quite tricky.
“My last run was better than so far today, but obviously it’s not where we want to be. Our rivals did a better job today, we have to keep working and improving and see what we can do tomorrow in the race.”
Sebastian Vettel will start from sixth, a place behind his teammate with the German not feeling connected with his car, “I think every day can be tough but for sure I didn’t expect to be that far off, especially because this morning we had a good rhythm. I didn’t get hold of the car, I didn’t get the feeling that I had earlier today, and couldn’t nail the laps.
“I don’t think that it is a surprise, if you don’t get it together here it can be quite costly, and we know this. I think the gap to Mercedes is bigger than it has been all weekend. So clearly we didn’t get it right.
“As for tomorrow’s race, for sure the further up you qualify, the better: this rule applies everywhere. We will focus on the start, first lap and then there is a long race, and lot of things we can do. Usually there are several pit-stops here so we can play with the strategy and pass people that are slower than us. I think the car is quicker than P6, so I have high hopes for tomorrow.”
Image via Ferrari