Strange qualifying mystifies off-the-pace Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel in action at the British Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel described his and Ferrari’s performance during British Grand Prix qualifying as “strange” in the wake of a subdued display.

Vettel was off the pace throughout the three-part session and only narrowly moved through Q2 after being in the drop zone prior to completing his final lap.

Vettel wound up sixth overall, six-tenths of a second behind third-placed team-mate Charles Leclerc, having only improved by a tenth of a second from Q1 to Q3.

“At least I took part,” said Vettel. “I just didn’t have the speed. Usually it’s pretty clear that you go faster from Q1 to Q3 without doing anything, but that didn’t happen today.

“I think Q1 we were as fast as in Q3, so it was a bit strange.

“I didn’t have a great feel for the car which didn’t help.

On Leclerc coming within 0.079s of denying Valtteri Bottas pole position, Vettel said: “I think he did a good job but for me I don’t really have an answer now.

“I think it’s fairly evenly spread, he seems to gain a bit everywhere.

“I didn’t really have a great feeling this afternoon and part of it, around here, you need a bit of it to throw the car from one side to the other.”

Vettel added that the “Mercs will be quick [in the race]. It will be a tough battle between us and the Red Bulls.”

Vettel claimed victory at the British Grand Prix 12 months ago.