Sebastian Vettel had yet more trouble during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix. Despite having been given a new chassis for this race, Vettel still fell out of Q2, finishing 0.002 seconds behind the last Q3 qualifier Lando Norris. As a result, Vettel will start the race in P11 for the third time this season. Another disappointing qualifying has left Vettel so miffed that he preferred not to utter a single word during the entire session.
His race engineer was in constant contact with Vettel, giving him information and orders throughout his runs. However, Vettel, in return, didn’t acknowledge nor deny anything he was told. Usually, after Qualifying, Vettel makes it a point to give feedback to the team. But not this time. This time there was only silence.
The transcripts from this silent drama went down like this, Q1 (first run), “To Vettel – Kvyat and Stroll on out lap. Track is clear in front and behind, you can push. Clear from behind. Clear from behind and box. Still clear from behind.”
Q1 (second run), “To Vettel – Track is clear, you can push. K2. Charging. Currently P9. And clear from behind. Stay negative.”
Q2 (first run), “To Vettel – Watch your mirror for Ricciardo, timed lap. And Hamilton, let him by. Let Ricciardo by and Hamiton behind. Hamilton four seconds. Hamilton in lap behind, Hamilton in lap. Watch for Bottas he’s boxing in front. And clear from behind. Stroll timed lap 24 behind. And clear behind Stroll. Can open more if you need. Stroll 15 behind, one-five. Stroll 12 behind, track is clear you can push. K2 box and clear from behind.”
Q2 (second run), “To Vettel – Group of cars ten seconds in front, we bunch up. Still plenty of margin. You can push. Mode slow and follow the reference. P11. Charge off and mode slow.”
Simply speaking, the relation between the 4-times world champion and Scuderia Ferrari is now at an all-time low. The deafening silence attests to that fact better than any words can. Before the race weekend began, Vettel seemed optimistic about improving his performances. But after that, it looks unlikely.
The team just can’t seem to get to the bottom of the problem with Vettel’s SF1000. Even a chassis change hasn’t helped. What more can they do? What more can poor Seb do? How much longer has he to suffer until he gets out of this toxic relationship with the Scuderia?
Ultimately, for the Tifosi and Vettel fans, it’s heartbreaking to watch. A 4-times world champion deserves so much better. However, the race isn’t done. Vettel still has a chance to put a smile on his face and that of his fans with a performance that can get him into the points. Can he deliver in a struggling machine? We’ll soon find out.