Sebastian Vettel 'not blaming' Ferrari for poor Suzuka qualifying

Sebastian Vettel says he is "not blaming anybody" at the Ferrari Formula 1 team for the failed tyre gamble in Japanese Grand Prix qualifying

Sebastian Vettel 'not blaming' Ferrari for poor Suzuka qualifying

Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen were the only drivers to be sent out on intermediate tyres at the start of Q3, but both returned to the pits after just one lap as the track had already dried following the shower in Q2.

With rain hitting the circuit again at the end of the pole session, the time lost at the start proved crucial as Vettel wound up ninth fastest having made a mistake on the one flying lap he managed. He will regain one position via a penalty for Esteban Ocon.

"Five or six minutes later it started to rain quite heavily so there was something in the air," said Vettel.

"I think we expected there was more rain coming and obviously it didn't so then it was the wrong decision.

"When the conditions are like this then either you get it right or you get it wrong.

"So I'm not blaming anybody."

When asked who had made the decision, Vettel said: "Why does it matter? Our call."

Vettel, who will start the race seven places behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton, said the track was still in good condition when he got out for his delayed first run and it was his mistake that ended up most costly.

He conceded the tyre call made Ferrari "look stupid", but insisted he stood by the decision.

"It [the track] was OK. I lost it into Turn 14 [Spoon] so that was obviously the only lap that I had, which didn't help," he said.

"We obviously lost a bit of timing due to that in the beginning but as I said if it starts to rain five, six or seven minutes earlier then we did a miracle because we're the only clever ones.

"And if it's like that [how it actually turned out] we're the only ones looking stupid.

"Therefore I defend the decision, it's our decision as a team. Obviously it wasn't wet enough to start with and the rain didn't come, it came later."

Raikkonen qualified fourth despite also making a mistake on his flying lap.

He reckons that Ferrari "got away lightly" from its tyre gamble.

"You have two decisions and one is right and one is wrong. We got it wrong," he said.

"At least it wasn't a complete disaster after that. We managed to put in one lap, which was kind of OK even with the mistake.

"I think we got away lightly from it."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari
Author Jonathan Noble
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