Vettel: ‘We had so much pace, no idea where it went’

Henry Valantine
Sebastian Vettel speaks to the media. Canada June 2022.

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel answers a question during a press conference. Montreal June 2022.

Sebastian Vettel was not a happy man after a premature exit from qualifying in Canada on Saturday, given how quick he and his Aston Martin had looked during free practice.

Vettel had been only half a tenth shy of Fernando Alonso’s table-topping time in a wet final practice session, with Aston Martin having also shown a turn of pace in dry running on Friday.

But their promise ultimately fell short of expectations in qualifying, with Vettel and team-mate Lance Stroll having both been knocked out in Q1 – much to the four-time World Champion’s surprise and annoyance.

After plenty of swearing on team radio, Vettel said: “I can’t believe it. That can’t be. What was that? It was so different to this morning. So different.

“I had no grip. It felt like the rear left was broken, man.”

But after taking time to inevitably calm down after this piece of bad news, he admitted that the car’s balance didn’t feel right for him – and will investigate it with his team.

“Yeah, very frustrating because we had so much pace and we have no idea where it went,” Vettel said in the TV pen after qualifying. “It’s probably still somewhere. But yeah, that was a surprise.

“I had very low grip and, I mean, given how the car felt, it wasn’t a surprise we were that slow. But obviously we didn’t change anything from this morning. Not much, and it was shocking.

“So, very difficult to drive. A lot of sliding, very poor rear. So we need to have a look, something clearly didn’t work.”

But despite his lowly starting position, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve offers good overtaking opportunities and, having shown promise in dry running and a better weather forecast expected for Sunday, he feels ready to climb through the field – despite starting from near the back.

“[I’m] always optimistic,” he said. “But yeah, let’s see. I mean, we had some good pace yesterday. And if we find whatever what was wrong, then I think we should be back to the normal place.

“So it puts us on the back foot because we start further back. But hey, it’s not the first race we would come back.”

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack agreed with Vettel in how difficult the car was to drive, adding: “Throughout Q1, both Lance and Sebastian were struggling for grip. And, despite a change to fresh tyres, neither driver felt they had the car beneath them to deliver a quick lap when the track was at its fastest at the end of the session.

“We did not do a good enough job this afternoon. We will go away and look at precisely what happened, but we know this is a circuit where overtaking is possible, we have two highly motivated drivers and a good car for tomorrow’s predicted dry conditions.”