Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel admits he had no answer to Lewis Hamilton's lap time in the final part of qualifying for the British Grand Prix as the Briton "owned" pole position.
The Mercedes driver claimed his fifth pole at Silverstone in dominant fashion with a stunning late lap, heading nearest rival Kimi Raikkonen by 0.5s. Despite a small improvement on his final flying effort, Vettel could only manage to get within 0.7s of Hamilton's benchmark, leaving Vettel to settle with third on the grid.
When asked if he had any chance of matching Hamilton's time, Vettel replied: "No. I think the time he put in at the end was very strong. The one he put in before we were able to beat, the gap at the end was a bit bigger. I think he owned the pole position today."
Vettel felt he had been compromised by traffic in Q3, leading to the following furious outburst on team radio after the chequered flag: "What was that on the out-lap, that was a sh--ty spot to be, absolute sh--ty spot. I was way too close to the cars ahead."
The German explained his expletive-radio message in the post-qualifying press conference.
"The last run I was a bit compromised," he said. "In the first sector especially, because tyres were not where they should have been. They could have been better on the out-lap but I was in traffic, we were in a bunch of three-four cars. But anyway it is a decent result."
Vettel says he expects Ferrari to be closer to Mercedes on race pace -- as has been the trend during the majority of the 2017 season so far.
"Most important is that the car is good, we improved it today and tomorrow should be better. We have always been closer on Sundays, so sitting here, having expectations, the answer is always yes, but we'll see tomorrow."