F1: Ferrari mystified by qualifying slump

Ferrari does not know the reasons behind its lack of competitiveness in Formula 1 qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, after it fell behind Red Bull at Barcelona.

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen appeared to be close to the pace of Mercedes during free practice, but both drivers slumped in qualifying, ending up on the third row of the grid and more than a second off the pace.

“It was a surprise to us as it was to you,” Vettel told the media after qualifying. “Currently we don’t yet understand but I’m sure there was a reason for it. I don’t think it was a general lack of speed. We have proven in all sessions so far that we were quite competitive.

“The car was not behaving similar to what we’ve had all weekend. It was worse and that explains why we lost performance, but we don’t know why it was worse. I don’t believe there’s one corner we were losing [time]– it was pretty much all of them, which would suggest it was a lack of overall grip.”

Vettel believes Red Bull’s second-row lockout had more to do with Ferrari’s problems than any particular step forward from his former team.

“I don’t think they are ahead in general, we are quicker than them,” he said. “Today, in these circumstances, we didn’t have a great day. It was more us not performing than Mercedes or Red Bull over-performing. Today we are further away than we have been all year, so clearly we weren’t performing the way we should.

“There was something not right.”

Raikkonen believes the final, slowest sector of the lap was causing Ferrari the most problems, but he denied that set-up changes after practice had caused the problems.

“The last sector is where we lose the most,” he said. “We are far from where we want to be, but we are trying and pushing. Yes we changed the car [for qualifying], but we are faster than we were this morning. We went forward, but for whatever reason we struggled a bit and the others did a better job.”

Originally on Autosport.com

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