YAS MARINA, Abu Dhabi -- Sebastian Vettel thinks Red Bull will be "vulnerable" in the opening stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and hopes Ferrari can capitalise.
Vettel qualified fifth, though there was less than 0.1s covering Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen in the two positions ahead. Ferrari's drivers split the Red Bulls, who both progressed through Q2 with the super-soft tyre, meaning they will both start on a different compound to the Ferraris.
The super-soft tyre should go longer than the ultra-soft but may have less grip off the line, something Vettel thinks Ferrari can use to its advantage to make sure both Red Bulls are behind in the early stages.
When asked if Ferrari considered the super-soft tyre tactic in Q2, Vettel replied: "We don't feel that is an advantage so it will be interesting to see what happens. It will make them a bit vulnerable in the first lap and maybe we can capitalise on that. For the race I think it should be close, we are usually a bit stronger on Sundays than Saturdays so the target is to aim for podiums tomorrow."
Vettel had topped FP3 earlier in the day and thinks Ferrari was too aggressive on its set-up between that session and qualifying, which takes place in the evening as the sun goes down.
Speaking about a moment on his final lap when Max Verstappen went off the circuit ahead of him, he said: "Yes, he went off and I saw some smoke and then I passed him, well I don't think he was in the way but I lost a little bit of rhythm and the last sector wasn't as tidy as it should have been, otherwise I think we would have gone to P3.
"The problem was more that in qualifying I was struggling to find the rhythm, I think we were a bit too aggressive and trying to anticipate the conditions tonight so I got caught out a little bit. It was coming towards us at the end but it was a shame qualifying didn't continue."