Sebastian Vettel said he took a “risk” when his qualifying in Sochi ended abruptly after a trip to the barriers during Q2 for the Formula One Russian Grand Prix.
With the second qualifying session nearly at an end, chaos ensued after Vettel clipped the orange curb at Turn four, causing him to lose control of the car.
Vettel lost the rear of his Ferrari SF1000 and spun into the barriers, losing its front wing in the process and ended up being marooned in the middle of the track.
With the car left in a dangerous position, right on the racing line, the session was immediately red flagged, leaving only two minutes and 15 seconds left on the clock.
Thankfully Vettel was okay, and unusually he even managed to recover his wrecked front wing himself before returning to the paddock, although he will start Sunday’s race from 15th on the grid.
Speaking to Sky F1 afterwards, he said: “I was struggling (in qualifying), especially in the first sector, so I tried obviously to take a little bit more risk and as I said already lost the car in two and then again in four.
“So, not happy obviously, but yeah, compared to the morning session, struggled quite a lot in the afternoon.”
His teammate, Charles Leclerc almost saw his qualifying come to an abrupt end too when he quickly came up behind the stricken Ferrari and had to pick his way through the debris at short notice.
He was able to make his way back to the pits, although he still failed to make it out of Q2 after the session was restarted.
He told Sky F1, “It was quite scary. Hopefully he’s (Vettel) fine and it was not much worse than that.”
The subsequent restart from the red flag led to a huge rush for other drivers hoping to make it through to Q3 and a nail-biting end to the session.