Sebastian Vettel has refused to blame his Ferrari team for his low starting position for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix after it the intermediate tyre to his car at the start of Q3 on Saturday. The Italian marque opted to fit the wet weather tyre to his car for his opening lap following a light shower that came at the end of Q2.
Vettel returned to the pitlane and attached the super soft tyre to his car and set off on his hot lap. However a number of mistakes cost him time which left him ninth place and all the work to do on his last run.
Unfortunately for the German, rain started to fall again before he could get a second lap in and he was forced to settle for ninth. He will start the race from eighth, as Esteban Ocon received a post-qualifying penalty for a red flag infringement.
"When the conditions are like this, then obviously you either get it right or get it wrong, so I’m not blaming anybody,” Vettel said. “If it (had) started to rain five, six, seven minutes earlier, then we did a miracle because we were the only clever ones, but if it’s like that, then obviously we’re the only ones who look stupid."
Vettel's starting position reflect badly on his championship hopes, as he must claw back 50 points from Lewis Hamilton in the final five races. Mercedes' team boss Toto Wolff acknowledged that its a tough place for the four-time world champion to start the race from.
"That’s a pretty grim starting position for him [Vettel],” he said. "He has a fast car but obviously just fighting against Lewis if everything runs well with us, it’s going to be difficult off the start.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing