Vettel: P9 start is ‘where we normally wouldn’t belong’

Henry Valantine
Sebastian Vettel in the press conference. Imola April 2022.

Sebastian Vettel said it was a “really good effort” for him to take ninth in qualifying at Imola, but conceded it is not where Aston Martin “belong” in the current pecking order.

The four-time former World Champion made his way through to Q3 in a qualifying session beset with issues that saw five red flags break up the running, with some drivers’ running interrupted while on flying laps.

Vettel was included in this in Q3 with three ill-timed stoppages, having already arguably taken the AMR22 beyond its usual capabilities in the wet-dry conditions at Imola.

His team-mate Lance Stroll could have done the same, but the arrival of rain during a red flag period in Q2 put paid to his hopes of making it through to the top 10 with the rest of that session having taken place in the dry.

The German admitted the pace the car has shown so far in 2022 would not normally see him get into the mix in the third part of qualifying, and the ending was ultimately something of an “anti-climax” – but the result was still a positive one for the team.

“I think it was eventful for everyone, so we take it,” Vettel said to Formula1.com. “Obviously we know we qualified where we normally wouldn’t belong, so that’s a really good effort.

“I had maybe a slow start, but I needed a little bit more time with the car to get a feel in Q1 and Q2. But when it mattered it was there, and the first run of Q2 was good which was crucial to get to Q3.

“In Q3, I think it would have been nice to have had a proper lap because I only had a look-see and then the second attempt I went a little bit wide into Turn 2 but then it was all red flags from there.

“A bit of an anti-climax to finish, but overall a great result for us.

“The first time for us in Q3 this year. The first time for both cars to be in Q2 this year, so it’s been good so far.”

Team principal Mike Krack was keen to take the positives from Aston Martin’s best performance of the season so far in qualifying, which provides a welcome boost for the Silverstone squad in what has been a difficult year for them.

 

“Starting ninth for tomorrow’s sprint is a good achievement for Sebastian and a highly encouraging result for the entire team after our misfortunes in recent events,” Krack said.

“Sebastian had been right in the thick of it all afternoon. He reacted brilliantly to the changing conditions, setting competitive times in both Q1 and Q2, and was all set to challenge for a higher position before his progress was stalled by the multiple Q3 red flags.”