SOCHI, Russian Federation, Sep 26 – Sebastian Vettel admitted he took too many risks before losing control of his Ferrari and crashing during Saturday’s incident-packed qualifying for Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.
The four-time champion German, in his final season with the Italian team, said he was trying to find more pace and lost control of the car.
“I lost the car and I couldn’t catch it,” he said. “Already in Turn Two I had lost the car then in Turn Four, I lost it again.
“I was struggling, especially in the first sector and I was taking more risks. I just couldn’t catch it…
“Obviously, I am not happy. Compared to the morning in practice, we struggled quite a bit in the afternoon.”
Vettel said his car lacked pace, which he was trying to compensate for by taking risks which led to him losing the rear in Turn Four where he smacked into the barriers.
His Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc almost ran into Vettel as he followed him while on a flying lap. He braked hard and avoided trouble.
“It was quite scary, but luckily he is fine and it is not any worse than it was,” said the Monegasque driver who qualified 11th.
“It is disappointing not to go through to Q3. It is frustrating, but it is life.”
The session was red-flagged to a halt after the four-time champion’s shunt, leaving runaway championship leader Lewis Hamilton in a perilous 15th place with just over two minutes remaining.
Replays showed that the German driver, in his final season with Ferrari, clipped a kerb at Turn Four and lost control as he smacked into the barriers.
On his walk back to the pits he picked up a wing of his car that had fallen off and helpfully handed it back to the team of officials clearing his stricken car from the circuit.
Once Q2 eventually resumed Hamilton managed to put in a lap to get through to the top 10 shoot-out with the fourth quickest time and then taking pole.