Vettel frustrated by tactics after qualifying drama leaves him fourth

By Sports Desk September 07, 2019

Sebastian Vettel was frustrated after qualifying drama and Ferrari's tactics left him in fourth place on the grid at the Italian Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc claimed pole at the Scuderia's home race after a chaotic finish to Q3 saw only two of the drivers still in the session cross the line in time to set a final flying lap after the field jostled for position on the out lap.

One of those two drivers was Leclerc and the other, Carlos Sainz, was not in contention for pole, meaning the final result – with Vettel's team-mate, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the top three – came from the first runs of Q3.

Vettel, who had topped FP3 earlier on Saturday, set his first time without the benefit of a slipstream and was due to receive a tow from Leclerc in the last runs before the farcical events unfolded.

But he ended up in front of Leclerc once again until near the end of the out lap and subsequently ran out of time. Last week's winner in Belgium has now outqualified the four-time world champion for seven straight races.

"I was trying to get through but there was a McLaren and a Renault blocking the road," Vettel told Sky Sports about what went on at the end of qualifying.

"I'm not happy with how it went. Obviously we didn't make it to get the second attempt like many others – but I thought internally we had a better way that we communicated.

"I was the one out front alone in the first run and I shouldn't have been the one in front in the second run. 

"The session was over so I couldn't even make it to start the lap so I can't be happy with that. [It's] not what we intended to do. That late [in the out lap] there was no point for Charles to overtake me at that point, he should have been ahead the whole way.

"The car was very good. I had a really good lap, I just didn't have a tow and that's the difference between pole and no pole."

Leclerc, meanwhile, had thought something like the end of Q3 would unfold after the battling for track position got gradually worse with each session.

"I kind of expected it because it has obviously been a mess from the beginning of the weekend but especially from Q1 to Q3 - everyone trying to find or waiting for tows, so it was very difficult," Leclerc said after claiming a second straight pole.

"At the exit of turn two the Renault and McLaren were blocking the road completely and nobody could pass. We lost quite a lot of lap time there. Then we had to push and it was just not enough.

"The deal with Seb was he gave me the slipstream in the first run of Q3, I would give him in the second run of Q3 so I went out of the box first for the end of Q3.

"Then there was the mess where they blocked the road. Here Seb overtook me and then we had to push for time before the last corner. In the second to last straight just before the last corner I had on the radio, 'You can overtake Seb now', that's why I overtook him.

"It is a shame. Definitely not intentional from our side, as Seb was also capable of having the pole position and we didn't want to sacrifice one car for the pole of the other."

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