Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel qualified 2nd in Belgium behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton. Now, he says that a low charged battery cost him in the final stages of qualifying. While Vettel lines up in second on Sunday, Lewis Hamilton celebrated his 78th career pole position.
The dying staged of qualifying saw rainfall on the circuit. As a result, a number of drivers switched to the intermediate tyres. Ferrari opted to fuel up Vettel’s car for a series of laps, but failed to do with Raikkonen. Vettel explained that the process of deciding what to do was very difficult.
“I think we had a wobble, I guess everybody had in these conditions,” he said. “It was just not as calm as it could’ve been. Yeah, after that, well I mean looking back it’s always very easy in these sessions, but the lap that mattered was the last one – before that was nearly irrelevant other than keeping your tyres warm.
“But that you don’t know, you don’t know whether the rain increases again. In the laps I had before, I couldn’t close also due to traffic, so I knew that if I close on them then the next lap will be compromised then the next lap could be drier, so what do you do? As I said it didn’t feel like I got everything out for various reasons, therefore it was a very scrappy session. You saw also the others not putting enough fuel for the end, so it can be a lot worse.”
Vettel’s fastest time was over seven-tenths of a second slower than Hamilton’s best lap. However, the German explained that he encountered a battery issue: “I think the way we set up normally it was fine to run until the end but I was surprised with myself when I crossed the line and saw that the battery was quite low, which was very costly.
“In the end we should’ve managed better as a team, but as I said, in these conditions it could’ve been a red flag in the last lap and then it doesn’t matter, I always trying to open a gap in the last sector last corner, and slow down to charge the car — but obviously it wasn’t enough at the end. We got caught out.”
He also admitted that Ferrari’s poor management was partly at fault for their shortcomings. This is the time that the adverse weather conditions foiled Vettel’s chance for glory. He crashed out in Germany and struggled in Hungary, in addition to today’s qualifying session.
Now, all Vettel needs to do is put this disappointment behind him and focus on Sunday’s race.