By Alan Baldwin
SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) – Sebastian Vettel said he had struggled to get the right feel for his Ferrari after qualifying a disappointing sixth at the British Grand Prix on Saturday.
The four-times world champion, and last year’s race winner at Silverstone, will line up a row behind Monegasque team mate Charles Leclerc, in third, and with both the Red Bulls also ahead of him.
It was the third race in a row that Vettel had been out-qualified by the 21-year-old, in Leclerc’s first full season with Ferrari.
Leclerc was on pole in Austria, with Vettel 10th after being sidelined with a power unit problem, and third behind the Mercedes drivers in France while the German was seventh.
“I think I just struggled to extract what was in the car,” Vettel told reporters. “I just couldn’t get the right feel. Not happy with how it went.
“I should be more competitive in the race but lately (I’ve) been struggling a little bit to just extract that one lap, get a great feel for the car. It’s been a bit up and down the whole weekend.
“It didn’t look great on my side,” he added of the session on a cold and overcast afternoon.
“I struggled to feel the car today and just couldn’t get on top of it. It wasn’t the best day,” added Vettel.
Valtteri Bottas starts on pole for Mercedes with five-times world champion team mate Lewis Hamilton, the overall leader, alongside on the front row.
The champions have won eight of nine races so far, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen taking the other.
“Mercedes should be the favorites but I think we have a fair battle with the Red Bulls and take it from there,” commented Vettel, who has not won a race since Belgium last August.
“For sure Mercedes is very strong so they will be difficult to beat.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)