Vettel blames changeable conditions for early qualifying exit

Sebastian Vettel refused to blame his team after being knocked out in the first segment of qualifying. Instead the Red Bull driver pinpointed the ever-changing weather conditions for his early exit from the session.

Vettel will have much to do from sixteenth on the grid  if he wants to keep his slim championship chances alive. The German must win or finish second tomorrow to have any chance of taking the fight to Abu Dhabi.

For this to happen Vettel will surely have to rely on his team-mate, Mark Webber, who qualified second for tomorrow’s race after a superb battle with Rubens Barrichello in Q3. The Australian will be gunning for victory tomorrow if he has his way.

Mark Webber – 2nd: “That was a very tricky session – especially in Q1 when the conditions were really bad. The car was difficult to drive then, but we scraped through. After qualifying re-started, the track came back to us a bit and I was able to be more competitive. It wasn’t too comfortable at first out on track, but then the grip came and the times were quite good. In Q3 I kept switching between the top three, from pole to third to pole to third; I would have liked to have had another crack at being on pole, but I made a mistake. I think it wasn’t easy to knit six perfect laps together in those conditions, but I’m very happy with how I drove and the guys in the garage did a great job. Congratulations to Rubens for his pole here at home; we’ll give him a race tomorrow.”

Sebastian Vettel – 16th: “I’m not happy, it’s very disappointing. It should have been better, but it was difficult in the conditions. There was a window when the circuit was at its fastest, but we couldn’t use it as we were in traffic. Afterwards, when we were in clear air towards the end of the session, it was raining hard and there was too much water, so it was impossible to improve the time. It’s not the best position to start from – we were targeting much higher, but that’s life and we have to accept it. There wasn’t really anything missing from our side today, it wasn’t about our pace, it was just a case of timing.”

Christian Horner: “Firstly, it’s really frustrating for Sebastian to just miss out on Q2. Unfortunately, in the window when the circuit was at its best, traffic or other cars were making mistakes ahead of him, which cost him dearly and he wasn’t able to put a lap together at the optimum time. Later in Q1, the circuit was in an atrocious state and he just missed getting through to Q2. It’s frustrating as after the delay you could see how competitive the car was once some of the standing water had moved. Mark ran very competitively and missed out on pole by less than a tenth of a second. It was a strong performance by him and it’s going to make for a fascinating race tomorrow.”

Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer Track Support: “That was the longest qualifying session of my career what a session! The first part was very disappointing with Sebastian not being able to make it into Q2. The second part was much better and Mark drove very well in the difficult conditions to secure second place. I have mixed feelings, it’s going to be very hard for both Championships now, but if it’s wet tomorrow anything can happen, so we will fight.”