Sebastian Vettel 'too cautious' on opening Q3 push lap

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel was left to rue an overly cautious approach on his opening Q3 push lap during qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, as he narrowly missed out on pole.

Vettel trailed Valtteri Bottas by just 0.012s after the first laps in qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas, with the top five split by a mere three-tenths of a second.

But neither Bottas nor Vettel were able to improve on the second push laps and they retained their respective positions.

“Well I mean obviously it was a very nice session, it was really fun to drive the car this afternoon, but if you are so close to pole but just on the wrong side of it, I guess Valtteri had a little bit more fun,” said Vettel, as Ferrari’s pole streak came to a close.

“It was OK, I don’t know the gap, it was very small, like one or two hundredths. That is always there.

“I had a very good first lap, and I had some margin in maybe the last sector where I was maybe taking it a little bit too conservative, making sure that I finished the lap and set the lap first, and then improved on the second lap.

“Unfortunately I didn’t improve, so my plan didn’t quite work, but overall it was good. I think we will have a strong race tomorrow.

“The car felt a lot better today than yesterday, which is obviously what we needed. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

The top teams are expected to run a Medium/Hard tyre strategy and Vettel is optimistic that Ferrari’s struggles on the white-banded compound will be avoided in race trim.

“Obviously we didn’t do longer runs in FP3, but overall I think the car felt better this morning,” he said.

“We changed quite a couple of things, which I think helped and will also help in the race.

“How the pace will be, obviously we will find out tomorrow, but at this stage I am quite content.

“I think we also struggled on the Hard tyres, but I think we should get them to work and that shouldn’t be an issue tomorrow.”