Sebastian vettel fiddled with the collar of his overalls and even laughed. The ferrari star was unable to catch the dominant mercedes duo of valtteri bottas and lewis hamilton at any point in qualifying for the formula 1 race in russia.
Despite third place and a gap of a whopping 0.556 seconds to the finnish pole man bottas, vettel, whose world championship chase suffered the next setback, was not in a bad mood, however.
"It should have been a bit tighter, but it wasn’t enough to be dangerous for them. I made a small mistake in the last sector, but I had to try. I’m pretty happy, the car felt good, which makes me positive for sunday," said vettel, who is already 40 points behind hamilton in the championship standings.
If the hessian leaves the black sea resort with a gap of more than 35 points to the impressive englishman, the fate of the world championship will no longer be in his own hands. Nico hulkenberg stayed in the renault in 15th place. In the second K.O.-section without a timed lap, but was able to save himself a set of tires.
"The spacing has been pretty rough, that’s a bit surprising. But we will give everything," said vettel about his mistake after the race.O.-decision. But a race is very long, so "anything can happen".
Laughing, the driver from heppenheim noted that he would like to repeat the constellation from last year in sochi: then pole man vettel finished second behind bottas, who in turn had only started from third place. Like vettel now.
Hamilton’s teammate naturally does not want to let that happen. "I want to race for the win," the fin announced. For bottas, sochi was the sixth pole position of his career and the first since the austrian grand prix this year. "It feels good of course, it’s also only the second pole this year," bottas said, "so it’s already a little behind."
Hamilton’s last lap cost him a possible pole position due to a big mistake in the middle sector. The four-time world champion was just able to catch his car again. However, the 33-year-old didn’t want to dwell on his mistake. "It’s been a really good weekend so far," said hamilton. With bottas forming a silver front row, that’s pleasing enough.
Less pleasing was also an inadequacy at ferrari in the final practice session – not the first this season in which vettel was thrown back by his own mistakes, but also those of his crew. Immediately before the end of the final session, vettel had to stop his ferrari abruptly at the end of the pit lane because it was already too late for an exit. Apparently a communication breakdown.
The man from heppenheim even had to lend a hand himself to roll the car back into the garage in a hurry. Ferrari can’t afford any more slip-ups like this, otherwise vettel won’t bring the world championship back to italy in his fourth scuderia year either.