Vettel: Ninth is “not the position we deserved” | 2018 Japanese Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel says he and Ferrari deserved better than ninth on the grid after an incorrect tyre call in a rain-hit qualifying session.

Both Ferraris started Q3 on intermediate tyres but were caught out by a quickly-drying track which allowed their rivals to set times. The rain then returned, compromising their dry-tyre runs, though Vettel’s team mate Kimi Raikkonen was able to take fourth.

“Obviously it’s not the position we deserved to be in,” said Vettel. “I think we have a better speed than ninth but we start there and we’ll see how it goes.”

Vettel ran wide at the exit of Degner on his first flying lap and then went off at Spoon as well. The rain later returned, preventing him from improving his position.

“I think the first run was sort of OK,” he said. “Obviously I had a mistake in Spoon so lost most of the time there.

“But obviously the second run we didn’t make it out time the because the rain came so we were too late.”

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Vettel’s team radio from qualifying

Immediately after joining the track in Q3 Vettel realised the team had made a mistake:

Vettel: I think it’s too dry.
To Vettel: Copy.
Vettel: Yeah it’s quite dry, come in straight away.
To Vettel: Understood.
Vettel: Eight and nine also very dry.
To Vettel: Copy. Try all gears.
Vettel: Yeah all the way dry.
To Vettel: OK we go with slicks. So pit stop for quali tyres. Kimi’s 10 seconds in front. Five seconds. Tyre switch on dry and manual pull away.
To Vettel: Hamilton starting timed lap now, eight seconds behind, behind him is Bottas, six seconds, and then track is clear. Hamilton behind let him by. Bottas next. Bottas at turn nine. Bottas three seconds behind and behind Bottas is Gasly, 15 seconds, on a timed lap.

The team had to abort their later runs due to rain:

Vettel: Heavy rain, heavy rain.
To Vettel: Copy that.
Vettel: Let me know if this is getting worse.
To Vettel: Turn one will be wetter when you come there. Hamilton timed laps seven seconds behind. Hamilton is aborting.
To Vettel: Want to box for inter or is too late?
Vettel: Too late.
To Vettel: OK. Careful turn one.
Vettel: No chance.
To Vettel: Copy. Heavy rain now in the pit lane, careful.
Vettel: OK, mistake in 13, not our timing today.
To Vettel: Copy that, understood. Try to make it up tomorrow.

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2018 F1 season

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