Find out more about our subscriptions

Sebastian Vettel admits Red Bull didn't have the pace to take pole in Melbourne

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne 2012Sebastian Vettel has admitted that he made a mistake on his final flying lap in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, but the reigning world champion also conceded that he was not a genuine contender for pole position.

The German had to settle for sixth on the grid for the first race of the year, as Red Bull's two cars occupied the third row behind the two McLarens, Romain Grosjean and Michael Schumacher.

Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber managed to outqualify the double world champion despite the Australian suffering KERS problems ahead of Q3, and Vettel held his hands up afterwards for his performance.

"We would have loved to have been closer to the front, but in Q3 I wasn't happy with my lap," said Vettel. "I made a mistake at the beginning and lost some time, so that was down to me."

He also said he was not as shocked as some in the paddock to see Red Bull's qualifying dominance from 2011 has not been carried over into the new season.

"I think what we saw today was not a surprise," he added. "The laptimes were close. I could have been one or two places higher, but that's how it goes.

"We are not starting at the front, but we are not starting at the back either, so it's far from disastrous and regarding the car we know what we need to do."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner added that Webber's KERS failure was the first one the team has had with the RB8.

"Mark lost his KERS - it's unfortunate that it had to strike at the most critical time of qualifying," said Horner. "But nonetheless, he did an excellent lap.

"Sebastian never seemed to really find the pace in the car that seemed to be there this morning, so we have plenty to look at this evening."

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Paddock insight from group F1 editor Jonathan Noble
Grand Prix news updates from F1 editor Edd Straw
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed