Sebastian Vettel was surprised to be eliminated in the first round of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix in his heavily upgraded Aston Martin.
He and team mate Lance Stroll progressed no further than Q1. Vettel gave a surprised reaction on the radio at the end of the session when he was told he had failed to reach Q2.
“I knew the lap time wasn’t great but I knew it was hot and I saw after the first run that nobody’s really smashing it in terms of lap times,” he explained. “So I was surprised because I expected to be better off today and somewhere around P10.”
However he’s hopeful the team will extract more performance from the extensively overhauled car through the coming races.
“If you look at the [lap times] table it’s not that different, but we knew that it’s not going to be a massive step in performance straight away. We do believe in the concept and we’re confident that there’s more to come.
“It’s very early, it’s basically a new car that we ran yesterday. So it is different, I’m still figuring it out but I thought I had a good feeling.
“Today in quali, I was slowed down by the poor car balance in terms of struggling to get a feel for the rear or to trust in the rear of the car. It was moving too much and I just couldn’t carry the speeds that I did in practice or what I thought I needed to, or I wanted to in quali.”
The revised AMR22 has been a focus of debate all weekend due to its outward similarity to the Red Bull RB18. Stroll remarked that “Red Bull is third right now so if it was a copy we’d be two seconds faster.”
Speaking while the session continued, Stroll said he lacked grip before being eliminated in 18th place.
“We have to look into what happened all weekend,” he said. “I’ve just been really struggling with the balance of the car and not getting to grips with it at all, all weekend. It’s been really challenging.
“It’s a completely new aero package so the ride height, set-up, a lot of things changed,” he added. “We have to see if we missed something and we could have done something differently.”
The team also ran into trouble for releasing Stroll into the path of Lando Norris during Q1. The stewards fined them £4,200 (€5,000) after the team admitted the mistake.
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