Sebastian Vettel joked that everyone in front of him retiring would make for a good Emilia Romagna GP for himself.
The four-time World Champion likely will need some help of the sort as he lines up P14, though it was a very tight qualifying session at Imola with Vettel getting within four tenths of team-mate Charles Leclerc despite being eliminated in Q2, while Leclerc progressed to the final session in P7 at the time.
Leclerc went on to secure that position on the grid during the shootout for pole.
So, what does Vettel need in order to make his way up the order?
“If everybody in front retires!,” was his initial sarcastic response when the question was posed to him by reporters.
“It was a better qualifying session,” he continued.
“I was happier with the feeling with the car, and I was a bit more comfortable, but it seems we are stuck in the position we are in at the moment and it didn’t make a difference in terms of where we are compared to the others.
“That was a bit of a surprise, but I tried – I tried at the end as well to squeeze everything, taking more risks I went a bit wide in the chicane so in the end, we lost one position for track limit, but I think it’s more important to try.”
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The old-school Imola track isn’t likely to lend itself to overtaking, though opinions from the drivers after qualifying have been mixed.
P2 man Lewis Hamilton bluntly told everyone to expect a boring race due to the lack of overtaking places, whereas Max Verstappen, who lines up behind the Briton in P3, said the track was surprisingly not as narrow as he thought.
But with Vettel starting all the way down in P14, it’s understandable that he feels it will be a tall task to make much progress up the order.
“It’s going to be difficult,” he admitted.
“We’re at the back and from there it’s difficult to make up positions. Overtaking is not so easy. I hope we have a good car in the race tomorrow and that we look after the tyres. Let’s see.
“It’s a new circuit for all of us in terms of knowing how long the tyres will last, but I think it’s going to be a one-stop, fairly straight forward, so we’ll see.”
Vettel is now on a nine-race streak without making it into Q3.
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