- British GP - Qualifying
'Risky' call earns Vettel second
Sebastian Vettel thinks his position on the front row of the grid for the British Grand Prix shows the value of occasionally adopting a risky strategy in Formula One.
When the clock expired in Q3 Vettel had not managed to post a time after aborting an earlier run, but ended up matching his best qualifying performance of the season by crossing the line second after his late flying lap. The reason for the late improvement was the drying track and Vettel, who had bolted on a pair of medium tyres despite the tricky conditions, is delighted that he and Red Bull made the right call.
"The pit wall was in a better place today trying to predict the rain," Vettel said. "It was impossible but they did a great job. It's difficult to predict. It was a very weird session, a lot of rain, no rain, drizzling, very fine rain, nearly like spray - England is the only country you can get this sort of rain and conditions which change so quickly.
"It's difficult to know what's coming. On the flying lap you approach Turn 1, and Turn 1 is a big-ball corner, so it's difficult to know how much risk you can take. Eventually you have to take some risk because, especially in my case, you want to set a lap. I'm very happy how it turned out, very positive to be starting from the front row tomorrow.
"It's you inside the car trying to get the best out of the tyres depending on the conditions of the track, with you and your team staying calm on the radio and going for the right decision. In the end you can't help but looking at what others are doing and trying to see if it makes sense or not to do the same. It's very good because in Q3 for our first run we went out half a minute later than everyone else and we didn't get a lap at all. That's how close the call can be sometimes."
Vettel initially thought he may have to settle for tenth on the grid after aborting his early lap, which clashed with a sudden rain shower at one end of the track, which the world champion says shows the fine line between making the right call and the wrong one.
"To be honest at the start of Q3, we went out as one of the last cars. On my out lap, just preparing for the flying lap, it started to rain so I got that wet last sector to start the lap and then obviously there was no point so we aborted the lap because at that time it was impossible to set a decent time on the slick tyres.
"Then we were back in the garage, waiting, and said 'ok, we might as well go out, if we go out on inters it will be difficult to beat the lap times that were set', so we go out on dry tyres'. We were one of the first ones to go out for one flying lap in the end. It was quite difficult to believe it would be dry enough, it's a funny place."